Tightened Particleboard Supply Challenges Industry
Recent plant closures and an explosion at a major panel manufacturer have led to board shortages and resulting price increases. Wood & Wood Products asks: How will the composite panel industry respond?
By Wade Vonasek and Andy Jenkins
Despite his positive overall attitude, Tom Julia, president of the Composite Panel Assn., concedes that his industry is going through a bit of a rough stage right now. The long and short of it is this: Supplies are down and prices are up. Julia says that the composite panel industry has seen spikes in prices and capacity issues before.
Explosion KO's Tafisa Plant
Leffel says that with the end of a wet spring, which slowed the logging industry along the west coast, he is cautiously optimistic about raw material supplies in the near future.
Julia, in spite of concerns from various sides of the wood products industry, remains hopeful about the shortage and price crunches affecting his industry. He is expecting U.S. shipments to be slightly up this year, possibly up 1.5 percent from 2005's 5.66 million square feet (3?4-inch basis) of production. This growth, Julia says, isn't too bad considering the economy and competition from overseas.
"I think we've seen Koch acquiring Georgia Pacific as a very positive sign. This is a case of, the largest producer of particleboard and MDF at the time, being acquired by a company that has a track record of success," Julia says. "Who knows what they'll keep, what they'll shut down, what they'll do. But, obviously, they are committed to right-sizing the business and making it profitable. That's the good news, and I think it was absolutely a stabilizing factor for the industry."
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