Markets and Market Development
Canfor and Canfor Pulp sell lumber, pulp and paper products in markets throughout North America and overseas through sales offices in Vancouver; Myrtle Beach, SC; Mobile, AL; Moultrie, GA; Jackson, MS; El Dorado, AR; Thomasville, GA; Tokyo, Japan; Shanghai, China; and Seoul, South Korea.
Our continued expansion and focus on higher values has led to new products. In direct response to customer requests, we added several metric-sized industrial boards to our Canfor RED product line. With our acquisition of Balfour Lumber and its mills at Thomasville, GA, we were able to add southern yellow pine boards and patterns ranging from 1x4 to 1x12 in several grades. And our acquisition of Anthony Forest Products adds engineered wood products to our product line.
We promoted our lumber products in India with a presence at Delhiwood 2015, a trade show in New Delhi in February. Our lumber products were front and centre in May when a customer in Cebu, Philippines, hosted a trade mission of senior Canadian representatives. In late 2015, Canfor sent our first shipment of lumber to Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s second-largest market. We reached out to customers around the world in September as part of BC Wood’s Global Buyers Mission, which welcomed about 150 buyers from 20 countries.
In June, Canfor Pulp opened a fully integrated sales office in Korea, and our lumber and paper operations joined in August. This better positions us to support our pulp, paper and lumber customers in that country.
In December, we participated in the BC government’s 2015 Forestry Trade Mission to Asia, which made stops in China and Japan, the largest markets for BC softwood lumber products after the United States. As part of the mission, Canfor President and CEO Don Kayne spoke at the first Sino-Canada Wood Conference in Beijing, attended by 300 Chinese delegates.
The Canada-US Softwood Lumber Agreement expired in October 2015, beginning a one-year standstill period during which there is free trade in lumber between the two countries. We are strong supporters of the Softwood Lumber Board, an industry-funded initiative that promotes the benefits and uses of softwood lumber products. In October, we posted an infographic on our website highlighting the board’s achievements.
While our largest market for lumber is the United States, we are shipping more to offshore markets, especially China where there is growing acceptance of North American wood products for construction. Senior sales and marketing staff visited furniture factories in the interior of China, to promote the fact our high-grade Spruce-Pine-Fir lumber can be used to produce furniture for domestic markets.
Most of the lumber destined for North America is shipped by truck and rail, while the vast majority of products sold offshore are transported by container ship and, in the case of pulp export, breakbulk cargo.
Canfor Pulp has two wholly owned subsidiaries that market pulp – Canfor Pulp Japan Corporation in Tokyo and Canfor Korea Ltd. in Seoul. Premium 1 Papers, a sales and marketing partnership owned equally by Canfor Pulp and Tolko Marketing and Sales Ltd., offers a full range of high-quality bleached and natural extensible papers as well as a line of bleached specialty paper produced by our Prince George Pulp and Paper operation and Tolko’s mill in The Pas, Manitoba.
Through a cooperative sales and marketing agreement called Fibre United, Canfor Pulp and UPM Pulp provide customers with a wide range of products. In its Top 50 Power List for 2015, RISI said Canfor Pulp is “pushing the envelope with a pioneering sales agreement with Finnish-based UPM, Fiber United, covering four major markets”.
We work hard to gain a better understanding of customers in markets around the globe by meeting with them, and inviting them to visit our mills and forests. Through TEMAP, our technical marketing program, Canfor Pulp production, innovation and sustainability staff contact customers directly. Through discussions, presentations and seminars, we learn more about customer needs so we can serve them better.
We understand our customers’ products and operations so we can contribute to their success. Canfor Pulp partners with internationally recognized experts to deliver training on refiner fundamentals, and to support tissue customer optimization studies. We provide secure product delivery by coordinating with transportation partners worldwide.
Our 2015 Customer Satisfaction Survey for solid wood customers showed they were pleased with our customer service, quality and product offerings. Our wood products marketing team is working to address areas where customers felt there could be improvement.
We also regularly visit some of our largest US customers in order to get to know our customer better and obtain valuable feedback. These visits provide an invaluable opportunity to talk with customers about our supply chain and quality control process, and invite their feedback on our performance. Customers were complimentary on our improvements in quality and service but also stressed the increasing importance of on-time delivery.