This year’s Northeastern Forest Products Equipment Expo in Bangor, Maine, will feature nearly 250 exhibitors and expects to draw up to 7,000 attendees. Industry insiders, such as equipment manufacturers and distributors, will exchange knowledge via live demonstrations and static displays.

Noted as one of the biggest shows of its kind in the region, the expo – also referred to as the Bangor Expo or Loggers’ Expo – brings together buyers and sellers as well as their opinions about the industry at-large.

We chatted with a couple expected exhibitors to take a pulse of the world of woodlots.

Charlie Riley

Charlie Riley, JS Woodhouse

Q: What purchasing trends are you noticing toward forest equipment?

A: Smaller, light-impact equipment like grapples, timber winches and fire wood processors have picked up in the last year. Some of that has to do with firewood. We had a very cold winter, and I suspect firewood stocks will be down.

Since there are certain woods that are paying a very good value right now, you have people with woodlots taking stuff and selling. People are definitely more interested in producing more firewood right now. We are having a good year with Hakki Pilke firewood processors, Fransgard timber winches and Sundown forestry grapples. They are quality pieces of equipment.

Q: What are you most surprised about with your sales?

A: I find it interesting that firewood equipment sales are ticking up with the price of oil quite a ways down. Although we had a cold winter with prices going down, firewood equipment is selling well.

Peter Hincks, Timberwolf Mfg.

Q: What purchasing trends are you noticing toward forest equipment?

A: Purchasing has been very strong, due to the price of firewood and the fact that we had two really bad winters back-to-back. Firewood has gone for $300 a cord, considering it was $125 two years ago. The difference has been astronomical, which is translating to equipment sales. The challenge is that guys are hesitant [to] commit [to] large equipment because of the supply of logs.

Q: Any equipment getting more attention?

A: The large wood splitters are in demand and also conveyors that give our consumers a more efficient way of loading their trucks. It’s about getting more wood out for the same amount of labor, increasing output.

Q: Any surprises?

A: Used pricing has gone through the roof. Guys are asking more than what they paid for after using equipment for 10 years. [It’s] supply and demand.

Photo by Josef Mohyla/istockphoto.com 

Q: What are the major issues facing regional loggers?

A: Supply. So much has gone to chips now. We are relatively close to International Paper (Ticonderoga, New York). A guy can truckload his software over there rather than dropping it off or having to deal with retail customers. It involves the same amount of revenue, but a lot less work.

Another issue, for example, [is that] one of my customers who sells firewood said that his customers are expecting a decrease in firewood because they’ve seen fuel prices going down. His point to me was that the guy he buys his logs from wanted to raise his prices. That guy is seeking out a small advantage because of his fuel costs, but it’s not enough to offset the price of raw materials.

Photo by esemelwe/istockphoto.com