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Our friends at the Hardwood Federation just released the following breaking news.
Less than one year after having introduced the “Ocean Shipping Reform Act” (OSRA), on Monday night Congress passed important legislation that will address export bottlenecks at our nation’s ports, handing a victory to the hardwood industry, which has sent nearly 200 letters to the Hill urging quick passage. This important bill will update the federal “Shipping Act” and institute remedies for unfair shipping practices that exacerbate global supply chain disruptions. By way of background, Congress ultimately passed the Senate version of the bill, which delegates a rulemaking to the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) to prevent ocean carriers from declining export cargo. The House version of the bill was more robust and outlined an explicit ban on the refusal of shipments for export. That said, the new law creates other remedies that will help U.S. exporters:
- OSRA will shift the burden of proof to ocean carriers to demonstrate that “late fees” imposed on backlogged cargo are “reasonable.”
- It will require ocean carriers to certify that “late fees” imposed on exporters comply with federal rules, or face penalties.
- And it will authorize the FMC to initiate investigations into an ocean carrier’s business practices and apply enforcement measures as needed.
Although the new law includes important tools to prevent price gauging by ocean carriers, the Federation and its allies will continue to engage federal regulators with respect to the new law’s implementation. Specifically, the industry will weigh in on the FMC rulemaking which will outline the manner in which federal officials will prohibit “unreasonable” refusal of cargo to be shipped to overseas customers. The President is expected to sign OSRA on Thursday afternoon, making it official. The Federation will keep you posted on any important developments related to the implementation of the new law, which may happen sooner rather than later as the Administration searches for success stories on the transportation bottleneck front.
– Dana Spessert, NHLA Chief Inspector
This month, I would like to take the opportunity to discuss an all too recurring subject: SIDE BEND.
Side bend is mainly created by poor sawing practices and logs with growth stresses. The drying process aggravates side bend through shrinkage at different rates within the boards.
When sawing a log, it is best to saw the front face, then the back face (180-degree rotation). This will keep the growth rings even across the board and allows the board to shrink more uniformly. In some cases, this is impossible, such as in the case of rift and quarter sawing or when sawing larger logs.
Companies have had some luck utilizing weights and other means to hold boards straight as they dry. But in my opinion, it is better to reduce the risk than to fight the natural drying process.
Now, let’s move on to the grading aspect of side bend. There is very little mention of side bend in the NHLA Rules Book. In the 2019 version of the Rules Book, on page 85, under definitions, it states:
“Side bend: A distortion of a board in which there is a deviation edgewise from a straight line from end to end of the board.”
There is another mention on page 92, under “Tips and Tricks,” paragraph 3:
“To determine the amount of side bend in a board, stand the board on its edge and measure the bend at its greatest distance from a straight line. When taking full-length cuttings, this amount must be deducted from the total width of the cutting.”
EXAMPLE: A board 6″ wide and 10′ long with a 1″ bend would allow a maximum 5″ wide, full-length cutting.”
Unfortunately, neither one of these is an actual Rule, so to help clarify, I will explain it through the definition of a Cutting; on page 9, paragraph 29, the first sentence:
“A portion of a board or plank obtained by crosscutting or ripping, or by both. ….”
A rip saw (also known as a straight-line ripsaw) only cuts in a straight line. I believe that the exclusion was not on purpose. I believe it was simply an oversite based on the knowledge that all Cuttings would be straight and without side bend.
For anyone who has not used a straight-line ripsaw to rip boards into clear pieces, I, as Chief Inspector, will state for the record that all Cuttings must be straight, and side bend is a defect that cannot be included in the Cuttings. This also includes boards that are required to be 100% clear, as in Selects. Boards utilizing the minimum width and kiln-dried Rules would also not allow any side bend.
As always, please contact me with any questions regarding the NHLA Grading Rules or to learn how the Inspection Services department can help your company be more efficient, effective, and profitable.
Chief Inspector Dana Spessert can be reached by email at [email protected] or by phone at 901-399-7551.
The Board of Managers of the National Hardwood Lumber Association (NHLA) is pleased to announce the appointment of Dallin Brooks as the organization’s Executive Director.
Since June of last year, the Search Committee has been on a quest to find the right Executive Director to help NHLA reach its full potential. “With the help of the recruiting firm Vetted Solutions, we have found an individual with a great deal of energy, ability and an intense desire to be part of helping to create a vibrant industry,” said Jeff Wirkkala, President of NHLA.
For the last ten years, Dallin has been the Executive Director of the Western Wood Preservers Institute (WWPI), working to promote and protect the preserved wood market for lumber, utility poles, and railway ties.
WWPI has steadily grown under his leadership and transitioned from a defensive reactionary industry to a positive offensive story, focusing on content creation and dissemination. Together with his staff, he developed smartphone apps for Treated Wood Guide, Wood Pole Guide, and Tie Grading Guide in collaboration with other industry associations. Dallin maintained the preserved lumber “Checkmark” inspection program and worked with universities to research and improve quality control metrics and standards, reducing variability, and improving treating production. He also successfully lobbied legislation for the continued use and disposal of treated wood waste in California.
Dallin graduated with a BSc in Wood Products Processing as well as an MSc in Forest and Society from the University of British Columbia. He has dual citizenship in Canada and the United States. Dallin has innovative experience in the hardwood industry; while working for Jartek Oy, he strived to bring thermal modification from Finland to North America for wide plank flooring, cabinets, gun stocks, and other niche hardwood markets.
Dallin grew up in the forests on his family hunting and fishing resort in BC, Canada. Dallin has 7 kids and is relocating his family to Memphis, TN area. His official start date will be June 13, 2022.
King City Northway Forwarding LTD. was established in 1977 and has been in business for over 40 years as a domestic and international freight forwarding company. It all began thanks to their business being situated in a prime location near the railroad tracks and close to the port of Montreal, Canada.
King City has come a long way since then. What started as a container loading service (when the containerization concept was introduced to the lumber industry) has grown into a full-service freight forwarding company that handles everything from the door of the sawmill to the door of the destination overseas, including the documents for the steamship to Phyto inspections, customs filing, rail transport, and beyond. Peter Lovett, the Vice President at King City Northway Forwarding, LTD, says, “Our clients put in a lot of hard work into producing their lumber. We want them to focus on that, and we’ll handle the shipping. That’s why our motto is ‘You Saw it, we Ship it.’ We help our clients mitigate any risk through the transaction and make sure everything goes smoothly until the very end.”
The big COVID issue as of late is labor shortages that have affected supply chain distribution, which is hitting the industry hard right now. The Great Resignation (people retiring early or switching jobs) has also impacted every business that handles shipping and logistics. Peter continues, “Long before COVID, we were very flexible in allowing our employees the choice to work from home. We are fortunate enough that our role in the shipping industry is translatable to a remote work environment. So, when COVID came along, we were ready and reacted very quickly.”
“As COVID and its consequences slogged through the past two years, we saw a slow deterioration in the workforce. Port terminals had limited workers, causing ships to wait weeks to be let into ports and unloaded. We had to work twice as hard to get one thing completed. Things that used to take one phone call or email now took three or four. It felt like we were talking to a void. But that is why our clients hire us. We push hard and go the extra mile. We manage all the risks involved with the whole transaction. We go to bat for our clients.”
Peter has a clear vision of what sets King City apart, saying, “I think we are very different than our competition in that we are a small family business. Small enough to build a rapport and relationship with our clients to give them extra care. We’re small enough to provide personalized service, but at the same time, we’re big enough to go out and make things happen. I think it’s our customized touch that sets us apart.”
King City has been an NHLA member for 37-years, and Peter is proud of it, claiming, “My favorite thing about being a member of NHLA is the level of organization the Association has. I never worry about how NHLA events will go because the people there are very competent and dedicated. NHLA brings everyone together and starts important conversations. Especially at the Conventions. The services they provide are among the best I’ve seen. It’s easy to be a member because NHLA takes care of so much of the work. I’m just happy to be part of it.”
The future is coming fast, and King City is ready for it. “I expect to see the shipping bottleneck fade away, like any other bump in the road. The industry will transform. It’s important to understand that things change, and we must adapt quickly. There’s a saying; ‘adapt or die.’ That really sticks with me. You can’t do the same thing you did yesterday and expect to be in business tomorrow. You must change and move on. In 10 years, I see the shipping industry moving into an increasingly digital world. There will be new and different technologies, and it will be interesting to see how we change. I believe those that embrace the change will be the most successful in the future.”
Reach out to King City at:
Email: [email protected]
Call (USA): 1-855-682-1637
Call (Canada): 1-800-335-5394
On Facebook: @KingCityLTD
On LinkedIn: @king-city-northway-forwarding
On Instagram: @ kingcitynorthway