The “Top 10” 2020 Canadian Lumber Producers Survey Reflects the Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Industry

The Forest Economic Advisors LLC, (FEA) annual survey of the “Top 10” Canadian lumber producers reflects the unprecedented year that the industry has seen as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Canadian lumber market had been tough in 2019 with a number of mill curtailments and closures, but there were signs of a recovery late in the year and into the first months of 2020. However, at the onset of the COVID pandemic lumber producers feared the worst. But history tells us that this was not to be the case, as lumber demand across North America increased due to a mix of (1) government incentives to stimulate the economy and (2) people confined to their homes. The Canadian Top 10 lumber producers saw shipments remain little changed in 2020 at 13.866 billion board feet compared to the almost identical 13.862 billion board feet in 2019. However, the Top 10’s share of total Canadian shipments increased to 61.0% in 2020 versus 57.9% in 2019 as total Canadian shipments dropped by -5.2% (from 23.956 billion board feet in 2019 to 22.717 billion board feet in 2020). The top seven Canadian producers in 2020 are: 1) West Fraser, 2) Canfor, 3) Resolute, 4) Tolko, 5) J.D. Irving, 6) EACOM, and 7) Weyerhaeuser. All holding their same rankings as in 2019. Collectively, these producers accounted for 11.8 billion board feet (54% of total Canadian lumber output), versus a similar output volume in 2019, but at a lower 49% of total Canadian lumber output. Of note, the four largest North American softwood lumber producers (West Fraser, Canfor, Weyerhaeuser, and Interfor) have operations in both the U.S. and Canada. Combined, they produced 16.94 billion board feet (28.4% of total North American lumber output) at 93 sawmills in 2020. These publicly traded companies were positioned in the top nine in Canada.

FEA compiles the Wood Markets News from various 3rd party sources to provide readers with the latest news impacting forest product markets. Opinions or views expressed in these articles do not necessarily represent those of FEA.
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