Re: Pacific Northwest Lumber Traffic


I would advise those of you interested in the PNW lumber traffic to obtain or get on loan, "American Commodity Flow" by Edward L. Uhlman, published in 1957 by University of Washington Press in Seattle. He encapsulates some of the carload waybill statistics for 20 states including Washington.  He also gives reference to "Expanding Domestic Markets for Northwestern Lumber" by Roy Sampson, published in Pacific Northwest Business January 1956 pages 3 thru 8.

Quote from book: " In a splendid recent analysis, Roy Sampson shows how Washington and Douglas fir region lumber is able to compete with southern pine in spite of being almost three times as far from market.  Production costs of Douglas fir lumber average 15 to 20 per cent below southern pine from 1939 to 1952, with absolute cost spread between the two regions widening after the war. (This presumably reflects, among other factors, the large size of Northwest trees and mills, compared to the diminishing supply of large stands in the cut over South.) In addition, rates per ton mile are less for long haul, as is normally the case; but, even more significant southern pine weighs up to 15 per cent more per board foot than Douglas fir, and transport rates are quoted on a weight basis, whereas lumber is sold on a board-foot basis.  (For most purposes, the quality of Douglas fir seems to be certainly as high as, if not higher than, most southern pine.)  The results of these differences are seen in the map of estimated delivered costs, which shows the Pacific Northwest competing on equal or superior terms in the industrial belt, the great market of the country."

Dan Holbrook

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