Western Forest Products curtails sawmill

VANCOUVER — Western Forest Products Inc. (TSX:WEF) says it’s indefinitely curtailing operations at one of its mills on Vancouver Island.

The company said in a statement that the Somass sawmill in Port Alberni, where it manufactures western red cedar, has been in limbo since February — before that it only operated with a single shift.

Western Forest Products, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment, said it intends to offer voluntary severance to its hourly employees at the mill.

CEO Don Demens said the company will encourage employees to explore opportunities at its other Vancouver Island sawmills.

The company said it is focused on cost reductions to remain competitive, and the decision came amid a lack of log supply to operate efficiently and uncertainty caused by duties recently applied to softwood lumber products going from Canada into the U.S.

Western Forest Products expects to increase production at its other Vancouver Island operations to offset lost production.

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