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Canada's forest sector warns of woodchip shortage

Tree harvesting machine in pinewoods.
FPAC sees reduced supply of sawmill residues as sawmills
are strugglingwith low prices and Covid-19 issues.
20 Apr 2020 − 

Temporary closures at Canada's sawmills start being felt by pulp and paper mills. FPAC asks for government support amid the coronavirus crisis.

In a meeting with the House of Commons's financial comittee last Friday, the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) informed about the challeging situation in the country's forest products sector and asked for "support to weather the Covid-19 storm." FPAC recommended adjustments to government's wage subsidy and liquidity programms to keep the mills operating and prepare the industry for the difficult months ahead.

According to FPAC, the sector was an important provider of raw materials and intermediates for the health and household products industry, such as pulp for the production of toilet paper, sanitary wipes or facial masks. However, with a price drop of almost 40% in recent weeks, lumber markets are struggling and many sawmills in Canada are temporarily shutting down their operations, thus reducing woodchip suply to pulp and paper mills.

“We are a highly integrated sector. Our sawmills are our industry’s heartbeat. We need to find a way now to keep our sawmills operating so chips can continue to feed our pulp and paper mills. If we don’t have chips flowing, our industry’s biggest artery is cut off – and thousands more will be out of work,” FPAC said.

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