Canfor Pulp to Cut Production and Jobs Due to Fibre Shortage in BC

Northwood Pulp

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Canfor Pulp Products announced the indefinite closure of one production line at its Northwood facility in Prince George, British Columbia.

The company cited a decline in the availability of economic fibre in the northern BC region as the reason for the shutdown.

This decision will result in a significant reduction of pulp production, with an estimated 300,000 tonnes of market kraft pulp being taken off the market annually. Additionally, approximately 220 jobs will be impacted by the closure.

"While there's a substantial amount of sustainably grown timber in the region, the actual harvest levels are falling short of the allowable limits," said Kevin Edgson, President and CEO of Canfor Pulp. "This is partly due to natural disturbances, but increasingly due to complex regulations and policy choices."

Edgson elaborated on the challenges faced by Canfor Pulp. The company has seen a dramatic decrease in the volume of wood chips available, a key raw material for their pulp operations. This lack of "residual fibre" is attributed to the closure of several sawmills in the Prince George region, which were previously supplying the chips.

"Despite our efforts to expand our sourcing beyond our traditional area, there simply isn't enough readily available fibre to maintain production at all our facilities," Edgson added.

Canfor Pulp currently operates two production lines at Northwood and one line at their nearby Intercon facility. The company will continue operating both lines at Northwood for the next few weeks before initiating an orderly shutdown of one line at the beginning of the third quarter.

The company acknowledges the significant impact this decision will have on its employees, their families, and the local community. A transition team has been established to work with the union and support affected employees during the closure process.

Following the shutdown, Canfor Pulp will have a total annual capacity of 480,000 tonnes of market pulp with the remaining line at Northwood. Their specialty paper facility in Prince George will continue operating at full capacity, producing 140,000 tonnes of kraft paper annually.