Re: Lumber and plywood by rail?
Date: 04-05-2021 - 14:03
There are multiple reasons we will not see logs at least transported via rail. Due to the size of timber now, the mills are getting fewer and fewer since one mill can process the same amount of logs 2-3 mills did a decade go. Using Camas Prairie as an example. there was talk of reopening a re-load at Jaypee 20 or so years ago. It came to naught because trucks can haul further, faster and to a more diverse locations. Logs are sorted in the woods now. Your first load of the day might go to Lewiston, the second might go to St. Maries and if you have a third round, it might be headed for a chipper somewhere. You just cannot do that with rail. The days of a giant mill complex that cuts all specie and processes the waste is a thing of the past. In my last few month hauling logs, before I retired, my first load would go to the SP mill in Burlington, the next to the Buse mill in Everett, the last would go to St. Marys Ceder in Montesano (before it burned.) The SP mill had rail service, but the other two didn't.
Bennett at Princeton does not ship by rail (unless they have started up again) they found their customer base was too wide spread to ship lumber by rail from their mill. Same for Vaugan. they do truck it to reload points. I believe both Bennett and Vaugan truck to a reload point in or near Spokane. The other upside to trucking is that there is no investment. You need fewer logs transported, just cut the trucks off. There is no expense, rail is an ongoing expense that never quits even if no logs are being hauled.