Shipment data received from NELMA’s lumber manufacturers through the first 3 months of 2018 indicate a strong market continues for softwood lumber from the Northeastern and Great Lakes mills. The total shipments for all regions and species was 2.4% ahead of Q1 in 2017, with 376.6 million board feet (MBF) reported to NELMA. This included 139.2 million board feet of dimension lumber from the Northeast, 135.0 MBF of dimension from the Great Lakes, and 102.4 MBF of Eastern White Pine.
The Great Lakes lumber shipments were 4.9% ahead of Q1 2017, while the Northeastern shipments indicated a 3.2% increase for dimension lumber and a 2% drop for Eastern White Pine.
The monthly spaghetti graphs are shown below for the years 2007 to 2018, by month.
Total shipments of Dimension and Eastern White Pine lumber through the Third Quarter of 2017 (January to September) continue on their record pace levels overall for the year. Dimension lumber from the Northeast, primarily construction grades stamped SPFs, recorded shipments during the first 9 months totaling 429.7 million board feet, some 12% above the same period in 2016. Eastern White Pine lumber shipments added another 328.6 million board feet, about even when compared to same three quarters of the previous year. The Great Lakes region recorded shipments of 399.5 million board feet, slightly down in comparison with same time in 2016 by 2.2%.
For all regions of NELMA, a total of 1.16 billion board feet was shipped to the marketplace from January through September, a 3.1% increase from 2016. Graphics of shipments by month for Dimension, Eastern White Pine, and the Great Lakes are provided below:
An overall increase in shipments of lumber from NELMA’s member mills through the 2nd Quarter of 2017 reflect the national trend seen in other regions of the U.S. during the first six months. Dimension lumber figures from the northeastern mills, primarily construction grades of SPFs, rose to 289.4 million board feet (MMBF), compared to 251.3 MMBF for the same 6-month period last year. This 15% increase fueled the overall shipments of all northeastern lumber rise by 7.6% compared to 2016. June reports were particularly high at 91.5 MMBF, a new monthly northeastern overall record.
Eastern White Pine shipments through July were flat in comparison, with 218.3 MMBF this year versus 220.4 million in 2016. Meanwhile at Great Lakes mills, shipments for the first half of 2017 totaled 265.6 MMBF, on pace with 2016’s shipments of 267.7 MMBF. Adding numbers from the Northeast and Great Lakes, shipments totaled 773.3 MMBF, 4.6% above the record level shipment numbers reported during the same time in 2016.
Graphics are provided below for shipments by month for selected years.
A total of 237.1 million board feet of lumber was shipped by NELMA’s Northeastern mills during the first 3 months of 2017, some 4.5% higher than the previous high mark set in 2016 during the same period. Dimension lumber, primarily SPFs-stamped material, led the way with a hefty increase of 11.8% from the first 3 months of 2016. A breakdown of the total includes 134.8 million board feet of Dimension lumber and 102.3 million board feet of Eastern White Pine reported to NELMA for the first quarter of 2017.
Graphics that track Northeastern shipment totals by month for 2007 to 2017 are provided below.
NELMA member mills located in the Great Lakes region added another 128.3 million board feet of lumber in Q1 2017, almost all made up of the SPFs grouping of species. This compares to 125.4 for the same 3 months of 2016, a healthy increase of 2.3%.
Final shipment data reported to NELMA from its member lumber manufacturers indicate that totals for the calendar year 2014 reached the highest levels since 2007, when combining shipments of Eastern White Pine and Dimension lumber products. Just over 853 million board feet was shipped for the year, compared with around 847 million in 2013, the previous high mark since 2007.
Dimension lumber from the Northeast is typically grade-stamped with the SPFs designation and dominated by the species of the Eastern Spruces and Balsam Fir but also includes some Red Pine and Jack Pine. Final end-use of this product is typically in 2×4, 2×6 and stud application in construction. Smaller quantities of Eastern Hemlock are also produced by NELMA’s Dimension lumber mills and added with the total shipments. Lumber from this category accounted for 51% of the total shipments last year, or 437.2 million board feet. This was just off (-1.6%) from last year’s shipments.
Eastern White Pine accounted for 49% of the total with an 8-year high mark of 415.8 million board feet of shipments, some 3.3% ahead of 2013’s reported data. Lumber manufactured from this species is typically produced in 1” thickness and used for appearance applications in construction.
Monthly data for 2008 through 2014 for both Dimension lumber and Eastern White Pine are graphed below, along with a graphic of the total calendar year lumber shipments from 2007 to 2014. Click on each graph to enlarge.