Homeowner News

Lumber Market is bracing for the Countervailing Duty Verdict

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Whats happening in the lumber market

This week was a tough week for SPF and studs. Those of you that follow politics may feel West Fraser has invoked their own “nuclear” strategy while addressing concerns of the Countervailing Duty and Anti-dumping lawsuits.  For those that don’t recall we are approaching the determination date for the Countervailing Duty which aims to level the playing field between the United States and Canada with regard to lumber trade.  The U.S. feels Canada subsidizes their mills by letting them cut timber on government owned and managed lands while U.S. mills have to own and manage their own timber lands.  Obviously this oversimplifies the disagreement but you get basis.

The Anti-Dumping lawsuit was extended 50 days due to the shear amount of data that must get analyzed.  Towards the end of January, West Fraser pulled off the market and raised their prices as we moved past the dates where the countervailing duty claims and the anti-dumping lawsuit claims became retroactive which were 01/24/17 and 02/03/17, respectively.   For those that don’t follow it that close the market moved up approximately 15% and has been channeling sideways.

Charts and Graphs

Last week West Fraser invoked the same tactic again … Fraser went off the market again and raised pricing on all shipments sold into the U.S. in anticipation of a 25 to 30% duty.  The market promptly reacted with a couple up-limit days to end the week.  Currently the futures are trading close to $400/m.  Here is a look at the futures chart… I think you can see the trend.  This chart represents a car of 2×4 dimensional lumber with a specific tally but most forest products correlate to some degree.

2 Year Price ABS

Decreasing supply and increasing demand contribute to the problem.  Shipments in February from Canada have been dropping this spring compared to last year and new home starts have been increasing in the U.S.  Here is a look at the current U.S. housing data and its trend line.  You can see the trend follows the same pattern as the Lumber Futures chart.

US Housing Starts, Countervailing Duty

What does this mean for you?

Looking at Canadian Exports to the U.S., William Knochel noted Statistics Canada’s observation that “Canadian lumber exports totaled 1.43 billion board feet (BBF), a drop of 3.2% from January’s total and 5.8% from February 2016.” The market is also feeling an impact from a shortage of rail cars.  Currently most producers are only guaranteed cars on high velocity lines which is a problem that appears to be a short term issue.

What does this mean for you?  Please prepare yourself for higher pricing.  Analyzing the lumber futures it appears the equation leaves pricing up more than 70% from the 2016 low and it continues to rise.  We are doing our best at trailing the market but the events surrounding the current market are out of our control.  We hope to have some answers after the April 24 Countervailing Duty deadline but until then the uncertainty continues to push pricing higher.

John Colley, MBA
Purchasing Manager
Zeeland Lumber & Supply

Extraordinary circumstances are surrounding this year’s market – protect yourself!

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There is a lot of uncertainty in the market this spring

With both an expected agreement on a new Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA) and the settlement of a Countervailing Duty (CVD) for presumably subsidized Canadian lumber sold into the United States.  The United States and Canada operated all last year without an agreement.  Most parties seemed content with last year’s business with one exception – small U.S. lumber producers.  With no SLA, the high volumes of Canadian lumber that shipped to the United States kept pricing low and the returns that went back to Canada were aided by an almost 30% exchange rate advantage keeping Canadian mills happy.

This isn’t a new argument between the United States and Canada, the argument stems from a fundamental disagreement on land management.  U.S. mills own or lease vast tracks of timberlands and must therefore manage their own sustainability while Canadian mills pay a stumpage charge to the Canadian government to forest the Canadian government’s land which the Canadian government manages.  Canadian mills therefore presumably do not bear the burden of maintaining land on their balance sheet.

Decking Products

To dealers like us the issue seems ludicrous

Many of the larger mills operate on both sides of the border now anyway and pricing appears directly correlated between northern and southern offerings.  We just simply want to provide our customers with the products they want, when they want them, and at a price they are willing to pay for them.  Unfortunately, we are not the only parties involved and some feel the competition is unfair.

That being said, the United States Softwood Lumber Coalition filed an anti-dumping lawsuit after a one year “cooling down” period when the SLA expired.  The suit named the four biggest Canadian lumber producers (West Fraser, Canfor, Resolute, and Tolko).  A panel agreed there were damages and now anyone interested in North American lumber is eagerly awaiting the determination of what those damages are.  Between the SLA and the CVD, Canadian mills are bracing for 30% increase but the actual determination may be quite different than that.  Unfortunately I think we are along for the ride this spring until it all gets sorted out.  There are four dates to keep in mind that will influence lumber pricing this year:

  • 01/24            Pricing for the countervailing duty is retroactive to this date.
  • 02/03            Pricing for the anti-dumping lawsuit are retroactive to this date.
  • 04/24            Determination date for the countervailing duty.
  • 05/04            Determination date for the anti-dumping lawsuit.

What does this mean for both of us?

Look for pricing to rise between now and the determination dates.  Pricing bumped up pretty good this week and if you haven’t raised your selling prices now is the time to do it.  Again, the market is bracing for 30% and the determination dates may bring more pain or relief.  Our goal is to always be a resource that adds value to your business and we pledge to keep you competitive in the market but pricing is going up in the short term.  Please protect yourselves with market correction clauses and expiration dates on your quotes.  The dynamics in this market are much bigger than both of us and neither of us can control them.  All is not lost though, it is very likely the market will come back down just as fast as it went up after the determination dates but don’t leave it in someone else’s hands!




John Colley, MBA
Purchasing Manager
Zeeland Lumber & Supply

Grand Opening: Mishawaka, Indiana

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Grand Opening

Join us as we celebrate the Grand Opening of our new location in Mishawaka, IN. This facility has been rebuilt and remodeled to provide a first class experience for both the Professional Builder and Home owner.

Zeeland Lumber Logo


Grand Opening Schedule:

8:00am:-5:30pm: OPEN HOURS
11:00am-11:30am: Ribbon Cutting
11:30am-2:00pm: Lunch on the Grill
1:00pm-3:00pm: Sunny 101.5 Live

  • Door & Raffle Prizes
  • Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
  • Meet the Staff
  • Showroom Tours
  • Grilled Lunch


Solving the Construction Skilled Labor Shortage

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Mike-Dykstra-SmallThe Construction Workforce Development Alliance of West Michigan (CWDA) was created by the Associated Builders and Contractors Western Michigan Chapter (ABCWM), American Subcontractors Association of Michigan (ASAM), and Home Builders Association of Greater Grand Rapids (HBAGGR). The goal of this alliance is two-fold: to present the construction industry as a smart career choice, and to provide educational opportunities for trade professionals.

Please check out the new CWDA website at

On Wednesday, July 9 at the Pinnacle Center in Hudsonville, from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m., there will be representatives from the CWDA that will be hosting a discussion about solving the skilled labor shortage. This will be a great opportunity to learn more about opportunities for involvement. To register go to I hope to see you there.

Lumber Wane

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In recent episode of the ‘At Home Show’ Mark Vanden Bosch sits down with John Colley to discuss lumber and lumber pricing.  In this short video clip, the pair talk about lumber wane and what it means to the end user.

Previous episodes of the ‘At Home Show’ are available for download at

What Causes Icicles

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What causes icicles to form?  On a recent episode of the ‘At Home Show’ Mark sat down with Cormac Smith from Quality Edge.  The pair had a great time discussing all things roofing.  In this short clip Mark and Cormac tackled the question, ‘How to icicles form?’

Hosted by Zeeland Lumber’s Mark Vanden Bosch, ‘The At Home Show’ answers your home improvement questions.  ‘The At Home Show’ airs every Friday at 12:30 p.m. on WHTC 1450AM.

Home Market Shows Continued Growth

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Mike-Dykstra-SmallAs many of you have been feeling, new home sales have been strong, even through the winter months. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported newly built, single family homes increased 15.6% in January of 2013. Rick Judson, chairman of the NAHB, shared: “While we can’t expect to see double-digit sales growth every month, consumers are definitely coming off the fence as prices start to rise, and builders in some cases are having a tough time keeping up. Challenges related to credit availability, poor appraisals, dwindling lot supplies, spot shortages of skilled labor and rising materials costs are all weighing on the recovery process.” (

Interest rates continue to be favorable and most economists believe they will stay favorable well into 2014. There is only a 4.1 month supply of new home inventory. Occasionally people will ask me if I believe this is sustainable, or just a blip. We are hiring many new positions at this time so I do believe this is sustainable. Demographics and several years of under-building show that we should have a few years of growth and then some flattening of the market as it reaches equilibrium. This growth will not be without challenges, but we are preparing to serve you better.

Trex Railing

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Trex railing offers variety in both style and color.  Whether you are building your dream deck from the ground up or adding railing to an existing deck, there is a railing style to fit your vision.

Traditionally, decking was only available in PVC or treated lumber.  While this worked for many years, homeowners demanded more choices.  This is where Trex railing shines.  Available in three different product lines (Trex Transcend, Trex Reveal, and Trex Select) there is a product that can fit perfectly into the decor of any home. Trex Railing is available in several different colors with different baluster options.

To show the ease of installation, Trex’s Jeff Ruddick partnered with Zeeland Lumber’s Jay Ellsworth in the videos below.  If you have any questions about Zeeland Lumber’s decking products, you can visit any of our showrooms to learn more, or contact us directly to schedule an appointment.

How to Install Trex Railing

Popular Cabinet Colors

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Zeeland Lumber’s cabinet designers recently sat down to discuss popular cabinet colors.  The overwhelming response from the group was that light colors are becoming increasingly popular in modern kitchens.  Whites and Grays are growing in popularity while darker stains seem to be ‘fading away.’

According to Zeeland Cabinet Designer, Tiffany George, homeowners want their kitchen to feel bright and inviting.  That’s why we’re seeing the change in color.  Certain dark cabinet colors will always be popular, but as the kitchen continues to be the focal point of the home, people want their guests to feel invited and invigorated.