Limited supplies of raw materials as well as finished goods have allowed mills and manufacturers to continue to drive prices upward in almost all product categories. Both SPF and SYP keep creeping up in cost as offerings are inconsistent and slow to ship. Lumber purchased on contracts shows a bit more stability as far as shipping on time and pricing isn’t nearly as high as the open market. The levels of available OSB continue to be a concern as trucks or cars popping up on the cash market are few and far between and priced outrageously. EWP manufacturers remain on strict allocation and tracking shipments has become an exercise in futility. One bit of good news is temperatures have risen to levels allowing the CN Railroad to end their length restrictions on trains. Severe cold and heavy snow present challenging conditions for safe rail operations, primarily on braking systems. When trains are limited to fewer cars, it extends shipping times. There has been little progress made at unclogging the bottlenecks at our sea- ports in receiving and unloading containers. There has also been more acceptance of European spruce into the U.S. but these ships have contributed to the sea traffic and are slow in getting unloaded. Importers have had to take steps to warehouse products overseas as some manufacturing is outpacing their ability to ship. Overall, transportation remains inconsistent and pricey as capacity can’t keep up with demand.
Recent storms in the Gulf Coast region, through Texas and in New Mexico have caused many resin producers to claim Force Majeure; all contracts and pricing are void due to acts of God that are out of anyone’s control. The lack of ability to produce petroleum and resin based raw materials is having a major impact on many building product categories: OSB, EWP, roofing vinyl siding, windows and trim, doors, electrical products to name a few. The sooner more people are vaccinated and return to the workforce, the sooner supply can start catching up to demand. A regional exterior door supplier just announced a week’s shutdown due to a Covid outbreak but that’s the first one in some time and, fingers crossed, will be the last. A bright spot among the madness is demand remains strong. House inventories remain low along with interest rates driving many to still opt for building in spite of the additional costs. Hopefully this won’t change.
Continue to plan out as far as possible and keep yourself informed. It’s good to see the days getting longer and warmer for sure.