COLUMNS: Forest trade with Europe needs more attention

Many suggest the best way to deal with the ongoing problems with the softwood lumber agreement in the U.S. is to develop alternative markets in Asian countries but Tony Kryzanowski, in a recent Logging and Sawmilling article, describes potential markets in Europe that are being overlooked.

The recent Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) with members of the European Market will essentially remove 98 per cent of tariffs and endorse preferred trade status with 28 member states with a population of half a billion people.

The tariffs (from two to 10 per cent) on fibre board products like plywood and oriented strand board will be removed. A mechanism has also been put in place to facilitate dialogue between Canada and European countries to deal with issues raised in the past which have hindered free trade.

In addition to promoting trade in traditional lumber products the author describes the potential of novel products like mass timbers, nanocrystalline cellulose (NCC) and lignin. Mass timbers are engineered composite products created by layering dried and graded wood veneers, strands or flakes with moisture resistant adhesive into blocks of material which are then re-sawn into specified sizes. They include products like glue laminated timber (glulam), parallel strand lumber (PSL), laminated veneer lumber (LVL), laminated strand lumber (LSL), oriented strand lumber (OSL), cross laminated timber (CLT), nail laminated timber (NLT), trusses and I-joists.

Many of these products were developed in Europe and industrialized countries like France, Germany and Britain have advanced industries with potential markets for these specialized value added products.

NCC or CNC is cellulose in crystalline form, which is extracted from woody biomass and processed into solid flake, liquid or gel forms.

Special key features like high strength, electo-magnetic response and large surface areas are incorporated into specialty paper products, biosensors and security devices and other electronic products. Canada already has a major commercial CNC producer in the Quebec based Celluforce company.

In addition, Alberta has near commercial volumes of this product.

Lignin is a non-toxic extremely versatile substance mainly produced as a by product from the paper industry. It has high binding properties which are incorporated into a wide variety of products like cement and concrete, animal feeds, oil industry products and a host of other products. West Fraser has also recently opened a $30 million commercial lignin production plant in Hinton Alberta which has a novel more environmentally friendly recovery system.

Kryzanowski also points out the significant opportunity for export of wood pellets to Europe which is expected to grow significantly (it climbed to 10 percent in 2015).

Canada is Europe’s second largest supplier selling $326 million annually but still trailing the U.S. by a wide margin.

The challenge for regions like the Cariboo Chilcotin and other interior areas will be the supply of fibre with the impending down turn in residual material from the lumber industry.

Additional work is needed to find practical ways of getting more residual logging material to markets rather than burning it on site.

Jim Hilton is a professional agrologist and forester who has lived and worked in the Cariboo Chilcotin for the past 40 years. Now retired, Hilton still volunteers his skills with local community forests organizations.

Just Posted

In the spirit of giving

Girl guides organization alive and well in Williams Lake

Fire baby families aid a family for Christmas

Families in the Cariboo Chilcotin who had babies during the summer’s wildfires… Continue reading

Community roots feed neighbours

Conservation Society gifts potatoes, donations

Helicopter logging to resume next week for beetle impacted trees

For the second year in a row the Ministry of Forests will remove Douglas-fir beetle infested trees

Sounds of the season

Students throughout the Cariboo Chilcotin are putting on plays and concerts during the Christmas season

VIDEO: Average Canadian food bill to rise by $348 in 2018

Atlantic Canada and B.C. will see the most increases for consumers

Home services, rental rates top concerns: B.C. seniors’ watchdog

Isobel Mackenzie’s annual report says B.C. has 32,000 more seniors than last year

‘Game-changing’ B.C.-born technology tests brain vital signs

B.C. neuroscientist describes the tech as ‘the world’s first objective physiological yard stick for brain function’

5-year anniversary of Sandy Hook shooting

When just saying ‘I’m from Newtown’ can be a cross to bear

Disney buying part of 21st Century Fox in $52.4B deal

Disney is buying a large part of the Murdoch family’s 21st Century Fox for about $52.4 billion

Bountiful polygamist believed he couldn’t be prosecuted: lawyer

Winston Blackmore’s lawyer says Blackmore did not believe he could be prosecuted

Woman charged after altercation injured baby in Toronto

Charges have been laid after a four-month-old baby girl was critically injured in Toronto

Anderson extends invitation to Liberal voters

Interim B.C. Conservative party leader invites “disenfranchised Liberal voters” to join his party

Ottawa Senators forward Chris Neil announces retirement

Veteran Ottawa Senators forward Chris Neil spent 15 seasons with the NHL team

Most Read