Value of production by Alberta Forest Products Assn. members reaches C$2.7B in 2013, up 14% from 2012; lumber volumes climb 7.6% to 3.2 bbf, panelboard output advances 1.6% to 1.1 bsf, pulp and paper production drops 2.2% to 1.5 ADMT

SASKATOON, Saskatchewan , March 28, 2014 () – New figures from the Alberta Forest Products Association show that members produced $2.7 billion worth of wood, paper and pulp in 2013, a significant jump from 2012. The value of all lumber, pulp and paper and panelboard manufactured by AFPA members was up $335 million, or 14 per cent, over 2012 levels, according to recently compiled results for the year ended Dec. 31.

"It was a really strong year for us," Brock Mulligan, the association's director of communications, said Thursday. "We saw some growth in the industry, and we think that 14-per-cent growth really reinforces some of the investments that we've made." In the five-year period 2011 to 2015, members are investing more than $1.5 billion into improvements to sawmills, pulp mills and other facilities across Alberta.

Capital projects range from measures to improve energy and water efficiency to software that can analyze a log and produce a blueprint for getting the most value from it, Mulligan said.

One factor in the increase in value of products manufactured in 2013 is that the association grew by one member. West Fraser acquired Edson Forest Products, a lumber mill, in late 2012. West Fraser also has operations in Slave Lake, Hinton, Sundre, Edmonton and Rocky Mountain House. Other influencers on 2013 results included a strengthening global economy and stronger prices, Mulligan said.

"Housing starts in the U.S. have had a significant uptick over the last year. They are traditionally our largest customer, with over half of our lumber exports going into that market, so that's definitely been a factor in some of the price increases that we've seen over the last year."

Also, a marketing push to sell wood building materials into Asian markets is paying off, Mulligan said.

Here's a look at the association's numbers from 2013: Lumber: Member companies produced 3.2 billion board feet of lumber with a value of $1.2 billion. Total production volumes were up 227 million board feet, or 7.6 per cent, over 2012, while values increased $264 million, or 29 per cent.

Panelboard: Members produced 1.1 billion square feet of product (based on 7/16thinch equivalent) valued at $362 million. Production increased by 18 million square feet, or 1.6 per cent, and values were up $21 million. Pulp and paper: Production was 1.5 million air-dried metric tonnes valued at $1.1 billion. Production was down 2.2 per cent from 2012 but stronger prices pushed values up by $50 million or 4.6 per cent. 

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