B.C. exports fell by almost 15% in Q1 2020 from the same period last year, hurt by both the rail blockade protests earlier this year and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the province said.
The hardest-hit sector continues to be energy and solid-wood products, which saw 23.7% and 20.5% declines in the first four months of this year, respectively. The sharpest commodity-specific drops came with coal (down 35.6%) and natural gas (36.6%), which offset gains in electricity (46.6%) an other energy-product exports (78.8%).
For the lumber industry, logs exports fell a staggering 75% so far this year, while softwood lumber exports dropped 20.1% and softwood plywood/veneer shipments fell 15.7%. Gains were made, however, in value-added (7.1%) and other solid-wood product exports (8.8%).
Statistics also show concerning declines in softwood lumber exports in terms of destination; while Canadian exports face significant tariffs in the United States, more than half of the drop in exports in 2020 actually came from falling shipments to China – which is down 51.6% so far this year. Japan, which saw B.C. softwood lumber exports also fall by 33.6% in 2020, accounted for another 22% of the sector’s export losses from January to April. (The U.S. accounted for about 13% of the drop.)
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