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Category: Forest Products


Tacoma-based McFarland Cascade, maker of utility poles, sold to Canadian company

Tacoma-based wood products company McFarland Cascade Holdings Inc. has been sold to a Canadian company.

Stella-Jones Inc. and McFarland Cascade announced the sale Friday. The deal is worth $230 million, according to published reports. The sale will close this month, the companies said in a news release.

McFarland Cascade is known for making utility poles, and it has a large operation on the Tacoma Tideflats. It employes about 215 people in Tacoma, according to the Economic Development Board of Tacoma-Pierce County.

Besides utility poles, the company also produces treated lumber for outdoor home projects, including composite decking, railings and related

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Container traffic begins growing at Port of Tacoma

In what is likely at harbinger of busier times, container handling volumes rose nearly 10 percent in June at the Port of Tacoma.

The cargo increases were driven by a surge in imports — an increase of some 13,000 container units over June last year.

That increase will likely be dwarfed by container handling increases this month as three shipping lines move their Puget Sound port of call from the Port of Seattle to Tacoma.

Those shipping lines have formed a partnership called the Grand Alliance that pools the three companies ships on transPacific routes between Asia and

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Port of Tacoma business volumes through May a mixed bag of results

The Port of Tacoma’s business volumes through May, released today, are a mix of disparate results.

Some lines of business such as break bulk items showed huge increases, while others such as logs, showed major declines. Meanwhile, other categories such as containerized cargo, autos and grain are not far from last year’s levels.

The port’s most important business, its containerized cargo trade, was down 0.6 percent for the year through the end of last month. Foreign container trade was up 1.7 percent during that period while domestic container numbers were down 5.4 percent.

Log exports, hit by a decline in

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The end of a four-year downward trend? Home prices move up in April

For the first time in more than four years, the median price of homes sold in Western Washington turned upward in April, a new report reveals.

The report from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service released Thursday shows a modest 1.27 percent uptick in median home selling prices overall for the 21 mostly Western Washington counties the real estate listing service covers. Median prices for homes sold in April this year were $240,000 compared with $237,000 in April of 2011.

Home sales prices in Pierce and King counties, however, still continued trending downward, but Thurston County sales prices were up, the

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Simpson laying off 19 at Tacoma sawmill

The continued malaise in the housing market has hit workers at Simpson Lumber Co.’s Commencement Bay sawmill on the Tacoma Tideflats.

The Tacoma-based Simpson said today it notified 19 workers there Monday they will be laid off because of the weak demand for the dimensional lumber they produce.

Simpson’s Tideflats pulp and paper mill is unaffected by those workforce reductions. That mill continues to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the company said.

Simpson joins several Northwest lumber producers in announcing sawmill layoffs.

Oregon’s Hampton Affiliates earlier this year announced layoffs at its Randle and Darrington

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Weyerhaeuser says wood products market remains difficult

Federal Way’s Weyerhaeuser Co., which reported declining earnings for the third quarter today, says the market for its timber and wood products is weak at home and softening overseas even in such relatively robust markets as China.

The company predicted lower earnings in the fourth quarter as the price of logs declines and the costs of operating escalates during the fall and early winter because of deteriorating weather.

The forest products company reported earning of $66 million or 12 cents a share excluding special items. That compares with $81 million in the third quarter of last year on the same

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Westwood Shipping Lines to open Puyallup HQ

A shipping line formerly part of Weyerhaeuser Co. will open its new Puyallup headquarters next Wednesday on South Hill.

Westwood Shipping Lines is moving to a former computer chip plant now converted to an office and research park, the South Hill Business & Technology Center. As part of Weyerhaeuser, the shipping line’s headquarters were in Federal Way.

Weyerhaeuser sold the shipping company to J-WesCo, a subsidiary of Sumitomo Warehouse in Japan. Sumitomo paid $53 million for the shipping line.

The shipping company has a fleet of seven ships and revenues of $246 million last year.

Some 70 workers will be

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80 mill workers to be laid off in Randle

Hampton Lumber Mills plans to lay off 80 workers at its Randle sawmill at the end of October, the company said today.

Steve Zika, the company chief executive, said Hampton is reducing the mill to 50 hours of production a week because of a shortage of affordable logs to cut.

Hampton’s mill at Morton is also on a 50-hour schedule. Lumber mills normally work two 40-hour shifts a week.

The company chief executive said competition from China for raw logs has raised the price so high that Northwest sawmills can’t buy logs and process them and still make money in

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