Canfor closes Houston and Plateau mills temporarily

Three-week closure in response to COVID-19 crisis

Canfor is temporarily its closing Houston and Plateau mills. (File picture)

Canfor is shutting its mill in Houston and its Plateau operation outside of Vanderhoof temporarily in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

The closures will last three weeks from March 30 to April 17.

The other mills affected in B.C. are Isle Pierre, Radium and Elko. Isle Pierre will be down for three weeks and Radium and Elko will be down for two weeks.

“The COVID-19 outbreak has negatively impacted global demand for forest products and disrupted supply chain networks. As a result, Canfor has implemented the following changes to its operating schedule,” the company said in a statement March 26.

“These curtailments and variable operating rates will be assessed weekly and adjusted as needed in response to rapidly evolving market conditions, changes in customer demand and the state of the COVID-19 response globally.”

The temporary closures in Houston and in Vanderhoof affect hundreds of direct and contractor employees.

And they follow what has been several years of previous temporary closures or cuts in response to high logging costs, American tariffs and other measures affecting finances.

As it is, the Houston mill has been on a four-day week since last fall.

In all, Canadian lumber production will be cut by approximately 70 million board feet.

Canfor is also reducing production in Sweden.

“Commencing next week, Swedish lumber production will be curtailed at two sawmills by 50 per cent over a four-week period, representing a decrease in production of approximately 17 million board feet. This is primarily in response to the lockdown announced in Britain, which has resulted in a suspension of UK bound shipments and a partial redirection of product to other global markets,” it said.

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