There’s an interesting article in today’s Vancouver Sun on the woes of BC’s coastal forestry industry—which, apparently, has had only one profitable year over the last decade. That seems like a pretty astonishing losing streak—and pretty clear evidence that the industry needs to do some serious thinking about itself. From the article:
Hammered by changing markets, global competition, softwood-lumber tariffs and now a Canadian dollar that is stripping export industries of revenues, the coastal industry is fighting for its life, said Rick Jeffery, president of the Coast Forest Products Association.
We’ve written before about the risks of shackling your economy to commodity exports; you subject yourself to all sorts of hazards, ranging from exchange rate fluctuations to tarriff policies to competition from a globe full of low-cost producers.
But here’s the kicker of the article:
The light at the end of the tunnel, ironically, is the mountain pine beetle. It is ravaging Interior forests and in five to 10 years, when the beetle has killed most of the province’s pine trees, B.C. will face a timber shortage. That is when the coastal companies—if the needed cost reduction, consolidation and re-investment takes place—will be in a prime position to fill the lumber void by harvesting second-growth timber for export markets.
Oh, great. When the pine beetle is done decimating the interior forests, timber companies can start making a profit cutting down the coast. I can’t wait.