Hurricane Ian, railroad strike could impact local lumber supply

Published: Oct. 19, 2022 at 6:12 PM CDT
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QUINCY (WGEM) - Just as the lumber supply and its price have settled down after post-COVID inflation, recent supply chain issues, a recent natural disaster and possible industry strike could directly affect the local supply.

ProBuild Supply’s outside sales representative Tim Genenbacher said five months ago, lumber prices had tripled from pre-COVID prices. Coupled with the fact that their usual orders that typically came in a matter of days were then taking months to arrive.

He said over the last couple of months that all leveled out. Orders were delivered on time and prices went back down significantly, but not as cheap as pre-pandemic prices. (For example, a 2x4 cost $5.64 before COVID; then inflated to $15 in May 2021; now its back down to $6.55).

Now, Genenbacher said there’s anticipation that the market could be set back after Hurricane Ian that wiped out parts of Southwest Florida.

“We haven’t seen it yet,” Genenbacher said. “The rebuilding hasn’t started, so once it starts and they take a lot of our plywood from here, then that demand is going to go up and prices will probably follow.”

Genenbacher said a recent threat of railroad workers potentially going on strike could also doom supply and delivery since much supply is delivered via freight train.

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