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Interex Forest Products Ltd. 25th Anniversary

On Thursday, April 12, 2018, Interex and our Shareholder companies celebrated our 25th Anniversary with customers and special guests at the Palace Hotel in the centre of Tokyo. It was such a well-organized event with over 230 attendees in total. Have a read of my Anniversary Speech and Mr. Sakaguchi, President of Shingu Shoko, Kanpai toast.

Interex Forest Products Ltd. 25th Anniversary Speech
Welcome ladies and gentlemen and distinguished guests to Interex’s 25th Anniversary celebration. Thank you all for taking time to celebrate our milestone event this evening.

I would like to take a moment to acknowledge and recognize the following organizations and people that have helped to make our company a success: BC Wood, the APA and COFI/Canada Wood.

I would like to thank the Canadian Embassy and the BC and Alberta trade offices for their support. We have had many industry and customer functions at the Canadian Embassy in support of Canadian wood products promotion here in Japan.

Thank you, Minister Arun Alexander for your support and your attendance this evening.

I would also like to say thanks to Sakaguchi-san, President of Shingu Shoko, who will have the opportunity to give the closing remarks and the Kanpai toast.

I would like to recognize and identify the important members of our shareholder companies here this evening that, together, make our company such a success.
To note, we always do these introductions in alphabetical order by company:

Carrier Lumber: Bill Kordyban – President, Elizabeth Kordyban -CFO, James Kordyban – Engineering Technologist and Madison Kordyban – Executive Secretary, Reg Foot – Sales Manager and member of the Interex Board of Directors and Jason Gordon – Woodlands Manager.

Dunkley Lumber: Robert Novak – President and Chair of the Interex Board of Directors, Tony Mogus – General Manager and Brad Johnson – Forestry Operations Manager.

Millar Western Forest Products: David Anderson – Chief Operating Officer and former member of the Interex Board of Directors.

Norbord: Michael Dawson – recently retired Senior Vice President Sales, Marketing and Logistics and former member Interex Board of Directors, Bruce Alexander- Senior Vice President Sales, Marketing and Logistics and member of the Interex Board of Directors, Robert Fouquet – Vice President Engineered Wood, Export and Industrial Products and John Shook – Manager Export Sales.

I would like to say thank you to the Interex, Japan staff for coordinating this event. I know that it takes tremendous effort to host such a celebration.

I would also like to acknowledge Minegishi-san and his team for the good work that they do every day here in Japan. People do make the difference and I do appreciate the professionalism and dedication that our team provides with serving both our customers and member companies.

For 25 years, our office here in Japan has provided the access and direct contact point for customers to purchase our shareholder’s quality products and service their in-market needs.

This presence in Japan demonstrates our member company’s commitment to the Japanese market.

25 Years; 25 years is not a long time if you are a tree.

25 years should be the lifespan of LED lightbulb, but I doubt that very much.

25 years is enough time for a baby to be born, to watch that child move through the various levels of schooling, become an adult and start a new stage of life…. and while probably still living at home.

So, in 25 years, Interex has grown to a company of size that exported more than 8,600 containers of Lumber and OSB to Japan in 2017.

I believe that is a significant number. I also believe that places Interex and our member companies as the largest Canadian shipper of wood and wood-based building materials to Japan. In 25 years we have become an important player in the Japanese market.

I also think the importance of offering certified sustainable products to our Japanese customers cannot be overstated.

Not only do you get the quality and sizes you need, you also have the guarantee that they are coming from professionally managed and sustainable forests.

I can look my daughter in the eye and tell her that these forests will be there for her and the future generations to come.

Besides the importance of sustainability, I like the cleverness of Japanese building systems. I like clever.

An example of this is the recent use and adaptation of the Mid-Ply diaphragm that produces a super strong shear wall for Japanese homes and buildings.

I am impressed with the Japanese builders’ willingness to adopt new building systems or adapt traditional building methods to build a safer and stronger home for consumers here in Japan.

Safety and comfort for the occupants of any home must be the top priorities.

Finally, to you, our Japanese customers I say thank you. Thank you for your past and continued support. Thank you for being part of the growth of our company.

Thank you for creating some of the most memorable mill and market visits. We do appreciate your interest in our shareholder operations and businesses and the deepening of our relationships with each other.

Arigato Gozaimasu

We would like to introduce Mr.Eijiro Sakaguchi, President of Shingu Shoko for his speech and his call for the Kanpai toast.

Mr. Eijiro Sakaguchi

I would like to express my deepest congratulations to Interex Forest’s 25th Anniversary. I am very grateful that we are able to have this anniversary reception with Mr. Bruce Pollack and members of Interex’s important shareholders including Dunkley Lumber, Carrier Lumber, Miller Western Forest Products, and Norbord.

The current market continues to favor softwood lumber products and consequently its supplies are becoming tighter and tighter. Despite this difficult trend, you have been consistently providing us with high quality dimension lumber and OSB products. I am grateful for your effort.
I would like to once again express my respect for your enormous contribution to the lumber market over the past 25 years.

Incidentally, this year marks our company’s 112th anniversary, but it has been exactly 100 periods of fiscal year end since Shingu Shoko has been established. Also, if we extend our relationship with Interex to the Seaboard years, it has been over 40 years, and that is close to over a half century for which we have had the fortune of your partnership. According to Mr. Minegishi, there have been shifts from old to new generations in each of shareholder companies. I hope to take this opportunity to get to know new people and to strengthen our partnership.

In my mind, this 25 years anniversary is merely a milestone in the strong relationships amongst Interex and its shareholder companies. I am hopeful that we will continue to make the relationships stronger for years to come.

In closing, I would like to wish Interex Forest Products and its shareholder companies every success and prosperity.

Now I would like to call Kanpai wishing for good growth at Interex and member companies as well as guest joining here this evening. Please join me.

乾杯! KANPAI!

Seasons Greetings

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,

Bruce

J. Bruce Pollock – President