Home Back Issues May 2011 Oregon mills prepare for Japan's rebuilding

Oregon mills prepare for Japan's rebuilding

| Print |  Email
Articles - May 2011
Wednesday, April 20, 2011

 

0511_WoodForJapan
The Japanese teahouse at Vanport International headquarters in Boring illustrates the use of Douglas fir in traditional Japanese buildings. // Photo courtesy Vanport International

The quiet resurgence of the wood export market from Oregon to Japan is about to get a lot noisier in the wake of the devastating tsunami of March 11.

 

Oregon was a leader in log and lumber exports to Japan in the 1980s and 1990s. The business dropped off due to environmental restrictions on the logging of public lands, but it has rebounded powerfully since the recession ended. Log and lumber exports from the U.S. to Japan were up 21% to $694 million in 2010. Vanport International president Paul Owen, a long-time lumber exporter, says Douglas fir component shipments from the Northwest into Japan have been even stronger, growing by nearly 50% in 2010.

Vanport has exported to Japan since the 1970s and has been scrambling lately to keep up with Japanese demand. Owen says local mills that sell to Japan are “sold out months ahead.”

In 2010 there were 813,000 housing starts in Japan, compared to 587,000 in the U.S. The forecast for 2011 called for 870,000 new homes in Japan. That was before the tsunami hit, killing tens of thousands of people and destroying hundreds of thousands of homes and buildings. The tragedy has resulted in a short-term need for plywood and a long-term opportunity for mills able to meet Japan’s high standards for quality.

Oregon’s largest lumber producer for Japan is the 140-employee Warm Springs Forest Products mill on tribal land west of Madras. Operated by Vanport since 2008, the Warm Springs mill ships about 3 million board feet per month into Japan. Other companies around the state poised to supply Japan’s rebuilding effort are Starfire Lumber of Cottage Grove, Zip-O-Log Mills of Eugene and Portland-based Stimson Lumber. “Anyone who manufactures Douglas fir products for export will be in a strong position,” says Owen.

SDS Lumber of Bingen, Wash., in the Columbia River Gorge, recently resumed plywood shipments to Japan after a 15-year dry spell. Other timber companies still reeling from the collapse of the domestic housing market are eyeing the Japanese market with renewed interest. This includes businesses growing weary of exporting high volumes of wood at low prices into resource-hungry China. Japanese buyers pay a higher price because their building codes are strict and their needs are specific. The Japanese economy is in deep trouble, but this is a nation with a long history of recovering powerfully from catastrophes.

Ben Jacklet

 

Comments   

 
Dale Shrader
0 #1 Japanese lumberDale Shrader 2012-05-22 17:10:05
I would like to know more about this market for lumber to the Japanese. I have been looking for work for over a year now and this intrigues me and I want to know more, can you help me?

Dale Shrader
USN Disabled Veteran
916-847-8054
Quote | Report to administrator
 

More Articles

Oregon Business wins awards

News
Monday, June 30, 2014

ASBPEOregon Business magazine won two silver awards for excellence in writing in the National American Society of Business Publication Editors Western region competition.


Read more...

Interview: Dr. Mark Goulston

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, July 10, 2014
JustListenBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

Tom Cox interviews Dr. Mark Goulston, author of Just Listen, Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone.


Read more...

Green Endeavor cleans up

News
Wednesday, August 06, 2014
080614 ULnew greenendeavorBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Portland startup Green Endeavor strikes gold, inking a partnership with Underwriters Laboratories, an Illinois-based consulting and certification company with offices in 46 countries.


Read more...

Managing family assets: The importance of planning ahead

News
Friday, August 22, 2014
Unknown-1BY CLIFF HOCKLEY |  OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

When business intersects with family, a host of  situations can arise. Without a clear vision and careful planning, hard-earned investments can become stressful burdens.


Read more...

Video: The 100 Best Survey

News
Thursday, August 28, 2014

100-best-logo-2015 500pxw-1OB Research Editor Kim Moore shares some pointers about the 100 Best Companies to Work For survey.


Read more...

Register for 100 Best Companies survey

News
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
OBM-100-best-logo-2015 150pxwBy Kim Moore | OB Editor

The 2015 survey launched this week. It is open to for-profit private and public companies that have at least 15 full- or part-time employees in Oregon.


Read more...

Who said we should sell in May?

Contributed Blogs
Friday, July 18, 2014
BullMarketBY JASON NORRIS | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

Back in May, we shared a common Wall Street quote about investing, “Sell in May and go away.” Fast forward to July and the most common question we have been getting from clients is, “When is the market pullback going to occur?”


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS