To all our good friends and business associates:
2017 saw record and sustained high prices for forest products in North America. This truly created challenges and yes, opportunities for any exporter of forest products.
We also witnessed thousands of people displaced with forced evacuations from their homes in British Columbia because of the record breaking wildfires this past summer. Over 1.2 million hectares were scorched in the two hot summer months and over 50,000 people were chased from their homes. Evacuation centres in Prince George and Kamloops, BC housed most of these evacuees along with their pets, including horses. The last of the Evacuation Orders were lifted on September 20th allowing folks to return to their properties. Fortunately, no lives were lost in this event, however over 300 buildings were lost including 71 homes.
In the Prince George area, Carrier and Dunkley lumber were slightly and safely outside of the fire zone which allowed them to continue operations. Norbord’s 100 Mile House OSB Mill was shut for over 2 weeks coinciding with Evacuation Order for that area. Luckily, no damage to log decks or operations were sustained. Fortunately, Millar Western’s operations in Alberta saw little forest fire activity in their forest management areas.
It is hard to believe that we witnessed and, for some of our friends, endured one of the most dangerous summers on record. On the coast, 85-90% of the forest fires were human caused. In the interior of British Columbia, 10-15% were human caused, and the rest were lightening strikes. It is hard to believe that despite the tragic news this summer that there continue to be human caused fires.
As we moved through the summer and into the fall:
- we wished Kevin Nibbelink well with his future endeavors after his final work trial at Interex;
- we welcomed the news from Johnny Hu and his wife, Joanne, regarding their baby girl, Natalie;
- in late November, I participated in Minister Donaldson’s (Forest, Lands, Natural Resource
Operations and Rural Development) first market trip to Japan and China – my fifth in consecutive years. Our industry is united in supporting market access and market development in our key jurisdictions in Asia.
- we saw outstanding performances at our OSB reloads in our last quarter, Euro Asia and Reagle Terminals who once again helped us to set new records for OSB shipments and for what will be record volumes in 2017 and;
- appreciated the consistent efforts of our lumber reload at North Coast Reload who supported our steady volumes to the Japanese market. The lumber team gets the KP (or Closest to the Pin) award for budgeting in 2017; 102%!
We continued on our giving ways in 2017:
- once again, financial support from Interex was directed to the Yaletown House in Vancouver, a complex care facility operating in downtown Vancouver;
- we continued with our United Way program for 2018. Thanks to Rob Teichgrab and Shari Ackerman for organizing the events held during our United Way campaign – and again, the ever popular Wine Survivor, the Twelve Days of Fitmas Challenge and “Identify That Foot” photo contest made us laugh. And;
- in December, we once again donated $1,000 to the Lower Mainland Food Bank.
So, here we are with some snow on the ground in Vancouver and more forecasted; it must be winter.
We appreciate the support of the member companies we serve and those relationships that make our business work; we appreciate the efforts and dedication of our staff both here in Vancouver and in Japan and; we appreciate our customers that we value so much.
Despite setbacks and challenges that life throws at us, we continue to appreciate those special events and friendships that make working in the forest industry so rewarding.
From myself and all our staff here at Interex Forest Products, we wish you all the best to you and your families for a healthy and prosperous New Year in 2018.
With best regards,
J. Bruce Pollock – President