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Canadian Pallet Association Gathers for Annual Meeting;
U. S. Program Smooths Way for Border Shipments During Alerts

By Staff
Date Posted: 9/2/2003

NIAGRA-ON-THE-LAKE, Ontario – Members of the Canadian Wood Pallet and Container Association heard about a U.S. government program to smooth the way for border shipments during times of heightened security and other topics when they gathered for the association’s recent annual meeting.

The theme of the CWPCA-ACMPC 36th annual general meeting and conference was: ‘Be Prepared to Survive and Succeed – Information is the Key!’

Members heard speakers on a number of other important topics, including guidelines for heat treating wood packaging, CHEP’s asset recovery program, the tough hardwood lumber market and other issues.

The association also elected members to its board of directors and officers. Officers for 2003-2004 are: president, Roland Dufour of Groupe Savoie; vice president, Wayne Anderson of St. Boniface Pallet; and treasurer, Dan McLean of Shur-Way Containers. The CWPCA-ACMPC’s immediate past president is Andrew Davies of Iroquois Enterprises.

David McDonald and Paul Jamison of Maritech Security discussed a joint U.S. Customs Service and U.S. Treasury Department program called the Customs-Treasury Program Against Terrorism, or C-TPAT. Trading partners in a supply chain should participate in the program to ensure that shipments pass through the border, they indicated.

When the U.S. Department of Homeland Security reacts to intelligence about terrorist activities by declaring a code orange or red alert, all borders and ports of entry will be closed except to trading partners that are certified under C-TPAT.

Members also heard about a proposal that would enable them to purchase electricity and natural gas at group rates. The briefing by Ian MacLellan of Energyshop generated a lengthy question-and-answer period. Members indicated they wanted additional information and directed Ian and CWPCA-ACMPC executive director Gordon Hughes to meet and develop a formal proposal for the association.

CWPCA-ACMPC members will be mailed a survey form asking for information on their annual consumption of electricity and natural gas. The information will be used as the basis of a solicitation to Energyshop or a similar organization to develop a program that would enable members to purchase energy at group rates. Such a program potentially could reduce energy costs for members and help them to be more competitive.

Michael Dimond of CHEP-Canada and Elton Potts, executive director of the CHEP-USA asset recovery program, gave an update on the new program. CHEP is very interested in working with cooperating recyclers to recover its blue pallets, said Michael.

They also talked about the new recovery program in the U.S., where CHEP recently announced it would increase payments to recyclers. No increase is planned for Canadian recyclers.

Canadian recyclers may not take CHEP pallets across the border simply to collect more money under the asset recovery program in the U.S., noted Elton. CHEP pallets that are recovered in Canada must be returned to a CHEP-Canada depot.

Carl Grenier, executive vice president of the Free Trade Lumber Council, discussed the status of the softwood lumber dispute between the U.S. and Canada. A recent decision by the World Trade Organization favored Canada in the dispute, he said, but it will be some time before a new agreement is reached.

U.S. policy makers are being lobbied by two main interest groups, he noted: one representing the housing industry and another representing softwood lumber producers. U.S. home builders favor access to cheaper Canadian softwood lumber, and the council concurs with its demand for an equitable, quick settlement. U.S. softwood lumber producers are focused on stumpage and the subsidization of Canada’s forestry industry.

Wood packaging for export markets was the subject of another presentation. Gordon Henry of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, which administers the Canadian Wood Packaging Certification Program (CWPCP), said that entry and export requirements for wood dunnage, pallets, crating and other wood packaging are complete, and that approval is being sought from the World Trade Organization and International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC). The export and import requirements conform to the IPPC guidelines for regulating wood packing material that is used in the transport of commodities.

Mark Newcombe, the Canadian Forest Service representative on the CWPCP, talked about the generic program for heat treating hardwood timber and lumber to comply with the IPPC guidelines. The IPPC has ruled that all solid wood packaging, both softwood and hardwood, must be heat treated or fumigated prior to import.

Heat treatment or fumigation is only required if the importing country mandates compliance with the IPPC guidelines. India, for example, has not yet promulgated an import policy for solid wood packaging. Nevertheless, it may be more efficient to supply wood packaging that conforms to the IPPC guidelines. Of course, once India adopts an import policy for solid wood packaging that mirrors the IPPC guidelines, heat treated of fumigated wood packaging will be required.

According to the CWPCA-ACMPC, many member companies continue to use heat treated lumber to manufacture export packaging with the ‘no bug’ stamp, believing that it will protect customers from unnecessary delays in export shipments.

Ted Murray of Murray Brothers Lumber Co. spoke to the gathering about the hardwood lumber market -- in particular, the future of the hardwood industry in supplying low-grade material for the pallet market. The recent strength of the Canadian dollar has reduced the distance that Canadian hardwood is shipped into the U.S., he noted. When the Canadian dollar was weaker, Canadian hardwood lumber was more attractive to U.S. buyers, and the exchange rate made it affordable to transport lumber deep in to the U.S. However, the shipping distance is being reduced as the Canadian dollar strengthens. This trend will provide more hardwood material for the Canadian pallet industry in the long term, he said. Ted also expected hardwood lumber producers to be able to service the pallet industry’s requirements for material in the summer.

Belinda Junkin, president and CEO of the Canadian Pallet Council (CPC), spoke on the cooperative pallet pool program. She outlined the benefits, costs, and how it operates. Belinda also summarized a study done for the CPC by David Luton & Associates that demonstrated the CPC pallet pool saves the grocery industry an estimated $70-100 million annually.

Clarence Leising of Eagle Metal Products talked about different types of automated pallet repair systems. Clarence, who has extensive experience in pallet recycling and pallet machinery sales, has authored a pallet recycling book.

The CWPCA-ACMPC annual meeting and convention also included a tour of Bethel Sawmill and its Cathild heat treating chamber for pallets. Bethel Sawmill president Luc Gauthier discussed the considerations involved in investing in heat treating technology.

Bill Taraba, president of Meunier Lumber Ltd., spoke to members about buying and selling stocks online.

The annual meeting and convention was preceded by the CWPCA-ACMPC fifth annual president’s cup golf tournament, held at the Royal Niagra Golf Course. Bernie Bodogh of F.L. Bodogh Lumber Ltd. was the winner under the modified handicap Callaway scoring system.

Feedback from members about the annual meeting and convention was positive. “I found the Friday sessions to be very informative and helpful as always,” said Mackenzie Troyer, industrial sales manager for Townsend Lumber Inc. “Past and current CWPCA-ACMPC special seminars and topics have definitely helped our company over the years.”

“I just wanted to let you know that I enjoyed the meeting on Friday,” said Dennis Kings of Kings Wood Products. “I made a couple of very good contacts that should work out well in the future. I was very impressed with the visit to Bethel Sawmill and the Cathild heat treating chamber.”

“It was my first real contact with the association and its membership, and I found it to be professionally conducted as well as very informative, “ said Tom Norwell of Rapid Pallet Ltd. “I have to say that I was taken a bit aback by the candid approach by the members. It was very refreshing and something you don't often see in other industry associations.”



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