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Specialty Program Solutions - Canadian Softwood Lumber - Logs Piled

For Now, We Have Canadian Softwood Lumber Tariffs

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For Now, We Have Canadian Softwood Lumber Tariffs

Does Canada price its softwood lumber unfairly? For now, the United States is setting tariffs on imports for Canadian softwood lumber close to 27%. These tariffs could become permanent if the United States International Trade Commission makes a final determination this year (expected to be delivered by December 18) that the American Industry was harmed by the alleged subsidies and dumping. [1] The lumber industry has already been affected by natural disasters this year. It seems as if Canada might have been benefiting more than the United States before lumber trade talks were discussed.

Canada and the United States have been in negotiations for months in an effort to reach a mutually beneficial resolution. Unfortunately, both parties were not able to make it happen. The United States Lumber Coalition Co-chairman, Jason Brochu said, “We are pleased that the U.S. government is enforcing our trade laws so that the U.S. lumber industry can compete on a level playing field.”[2]

Not everyone seems to have the same opinion. Some feel that this new tariff may harm the lumber market, not help. With lumber prices increasing after the hurricanes, Canadian Lumber will no longer be as affordable of an option as it was before. The Canadian Minister of Natural Resources and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chrystia Freeland, stated they “will forcefully defend Canada’s softwood lumber industry, including through litigation, and we expect to prevail as we have in the past.”[3]

SPS Team

Specialty Program Solutions specializes in this niche market and are known to be industry leaders within the Inland Marine industry. You can always count on Specialty Program Solutions (SPS) to execute on excellence with unmatched speed, precision, and skill. If you’re looking to expand your book of business and work with a specialist in the Inland Marine industry, then contact us today!




Specialty Program Solutions (SPS) - How are Hurricanes Affecting Lumber Prices - Hurricane Destruction Image

How are Hurricanes Affecting Lumber Prices?

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How are Hurricanes Affecting the Logging Industry?

Harvey, Nate and Irma are names that have brought a different meaning to habitants of the western hemisphere. These hurricanes have caused destruction comparable to Hurricane Katrina which hit the United States in 2005. These natural disasters have also affected the lumber/logging industry. Lumber prices have increased since these storms have touched the United States, but for just how long should we expect this increase to last?

Hurricane Harvey was the second costliest hurricane in United States history. Houston, East Texas, and Louisiana were heavily affected as oil refineries and chemical plants were shut down, roads and ports were damaged alongside widespread damage to homes, businesses, and cars alike.

A comparison of the stumpage price a month following the damage from Hurricane Harvey, Rita, and Katrina was created by Forest2Markets. A month after Hurricanes Rita and Katrina hit, stumpage prices dropped an extra 16% on an already down year (40% in total at that time). “Most of the stumpage price decline for both products was due to the influx of salvage timber sold in the market. Salvage timber is the removal of trees from forested areas that have been damaged by events like flood, wildfire, severe wind, disease, insect infestation or other natural disturbances.”[1]

The following year after the hurricanes hit, the price normalized and then slightly increased over the prior year. We are likely to see similar results following Hurricane Harvey. Salvage timber will be harvested much more now and we should expect saw timber and pine pulpwood prices to fall.

Prior to the impact of Hurricane Harvey or Irma, the demand for lumber was high with the resurgence of the housing market, log and veneer shortages out West and in British Columbia.[2] Consumers then began purchasing lumber to board their homes as they heard the hurricane was to make landfall, which in turn led another price increase. The price will remain around this level for some time as lumber will be needed to rebuild and restore damage from the impact of both hurricanes. Logging is in high demand now as Florida, Texas, and Louisiana are still recovering from the aftermath of both these storms. Though gas prices are beginning to level out, it looks like lumber prices will take some more time.

Specialty Program Solutions (SPS) Team

You can always count on Specialty Program Solutions (SPS) to execute on excellence with unmatched speed, precision, and skill. If you’re looking to expand your book of business and work with a specialist in the Inland Marine industry, then contact us today!




Specialty Program Solutions Hurricane Irma is Coming!

Hurricane Irma is Coming!

By | Specialty Program Solutions Information | No Comments

Hurricane Irma is Coming!

Hurricanes are the most powerful storms on earth. They vary in wind strength, size, storm surge flooding potential, and destructive capacity. Depending on the storm, the devastating perils a hurricane can inflict on an area include extraordinary high force winds, storm surge damage and massive flooding. Each one of these perils exists within every hurricane, and can be devastatingly destructive. Each hurricane can bring with it one, or all of these perils along its path.

The Saffir-Simpson Scale classifies hurricanes into five categories based on wind speed, central pressure, and damage potential. “Category three” and higher hurricanes are considered major hurricanes. Even though the impact of hurricanes is largely unpredictable, there are ways to prepare your organization and your employees. By better understanding the many concerns associated with such a threat and planning ahead you can better manage weather-related risks. Every susceptible organization should develop a hurricane preparedness and response plan customized to its unique needs, location, operations, and resources.

Do you know the elevation of your shop/office location above sea level?

Do you know the elevation of your current jobsites/tracts and if there is potential for flooding to your equipment from nearby rivers, streams or waterways?  


The elevation of your shop/office and jobsite (where in-woods equipment is exposed) is a major factor in determining your vulnerability to flooding (storm surge or by area streams and waterways). Your area’s local emergency office has hurricane planning information that will outline local areas that may be affected by storm surge. You can find additional information on Flooding from property site plans and city or county representatives.

Here are some suggested steps you can take to help keep your employees safe while minimizing damage to your property. Use the following checklist to help you to prepare your property for a hurricane:

  1. Pay close attention to forecasts in order to know when to take action.
  2. Make sure to move your mobile equipment from jobsites, low lying areas or potentially impacted areas to higher elevation to minimize the risk of flood loss.
  3. Secure all doors and board up windows to protect against flying debris.
  4. Clean out floor drains and catch basins and check sump pumps.
  5. Anchor and fill above-ground tanks with water or product to keep them in place during the storm.
  6. Fill the fuel tanks on your emergency generator and fire pumps. Fill your vehicles’ fuel tanks, as well.
  7. Check to see that your fire protection equipment is working.
  8. Make sure your important records are protected — or duplicate them and move them offsite to a safe area.
  9. Shut off process piping carrying gas or flammable liquids in case a pipe breaks in the storm.
  10. Shut down production processes safely and turn off the electricity for non-critical equipment.
  11. Evacuate your employees.

You can always count on Specialty Program Solutions (SPS) to execute on excellence with unmatched speed, precision, and skill. If you’re looking to expand your book of business and work with a specialist in the Inland Marine industry, then contact us today!

Specialty Program Solutions Doesn’t Want You to Lose

By | Specialty Program Solutions Information | No Comments

Specialty Program Solutions Doesn’t Want You to Lose

Specialty Program Solutions (SPS) is a Program Administrator/ Managing General Agent that takes pride in its mastery and knowledge of the logging and construction inland marine industry. With over 20 years of combined experience, we are certain that our niche focused approach, unparalleled service, and long-standing partnerships are the keys to outstanding results. As an industry leader, we are committed to consistently delivering underwriting expertise and unmatched service. In partnership with our key producers, we are always seeking opportunities to enhance our offering and adapt to changing needs. SPS solely focuses on the inland marine insurance industry making us specialists when underwriting this business. We thoroughly understand your business and have handled a wide variety of claims. But our business isn’t just about earning premium and paying claims, it’s about truly protecting your business.

Today more than ever, successful companies are taking advantage of loss control and safety management services to protect their assets and improve their bottom line. SPS has partnered with an experienced loss control, and safety management company specializing in the logging and forestry industry. Our underwriting team works closely with loss control to identify trends and potential concerns with maintenance and safety of your insured’s equipment. To better protect their assets we ask for your assistance in contacting your insured’s to verify their current equipment maintenance and loss control procedures.

As we are all aware, “fire loss” is the primary cause of loss in the logging equipment industry and many underestimate the importance of regular maintenance and cleaning.  Regular maintenance keeps the equipment in top operating condition and simple maintenance procedures as routine oil, fuel and air filter changes reduce wear and maximize performance. Cleanliness and removal of excessive debris from the engine and hydraulic compartments helps to reduce fire risk.

Here are few recommendations to help mitgate losses:

Equipment Cool Down Procedure:  

The equipment operators, at close of each work day, should remain with the unit for at least thirty (30) minutes after shut-down to allow for adequate cool-down and discovery of any possible smoldering fire.

Debris Removal Procedure: 

Remove accumulated debris from the engine and exhaust manifold areas on all equipment twice each day.

Hydraulic & Fuel Lines/Connections Checked Daily:

Even the slightest hydraulic or fuel leak should be repaired immediately. Equipment should be thoroughly steam cleaned after any and all hydraulic or fuel repairs.

Equipment Location and Spacing:   

At the close of each work day, equipment should be moved to high ground that is clear of debris and stored in a safe manner. Equipment should be spaced a minimum of 50’ apart when left overnight in remote areas.

Equipment Security:

Idle equipment should be locked and master electrical switch turned off.  Nearby neighbors and workers should be notified to be alert for possible strangers examining the equipment after working hours. Police should be called immediately if unusual circumstances are apparent.

You can always count on Specialty Program Solutions (SPS) to execute on excellence with unmatched speed, precision, and skill. If you’re looking to expand your book of business and work with a specialist in the Inland Marine industry, then contact us today!