To our valued customers,
2018 has been a complex year for the lumber industry so far, and a lot of issues have been raised already. We would like to take the time to address these issues with you, in hopes that you will understand what we are dealing with inside the industry and why we must take action now in order to better serve your needs going forward.
Let us say first, that in our 4 generations of experience, we have never seen things as severe as they are right now. We are not the only company having issues. NELMA, or the North East Lumber Mill Association (of which we are a member) is fighting their way through all these same issues.
What are these issues that we are speaking of?
To start with, there is a major shortage of raw material available to make our Eastern Sweet Pine bedding. A major mill fire in January tightened supplies for the entire northeast United States where this product is produced. While we were able to shift the lost production to other mills within our supply chain, our supplies remain incredibly tight with no relief in sight. Due to the increased demand for lumber and shavings, every mill has increased their price to us already.
Additionally, there is a shortage of truck drivers in the United States currently. The trucking industry is facing a 50,000 person shortage by the end of 2018. ALL of our trucking carriers have re-negotiated our trucking rates and have increased prices everywhere. Some lanes we service have seen price increases of $400 - $600 dollars or more. Unlike a lot of other companies, we do not mark up our freight.
The third thing that has increased so far this year is fuel prices. While fuel remained fairly consistent in 2017, ALL trucking companies are now charging up to .50 per mile in fuel surcharges. As of today it is .42 per mile. This changes weekly along with the price of diesel. We have seen this fee raise from as low as .25 per mile just last year.
Due to all of these issues beyond our control, we are now forced to raise prices to our customers. We have tried shifting production to other mills, we have contacted more than 50 trucking companies to date, and we still can not get our product to our customers fast enough. We want to be your shavings provider for years to come. We are actively fixing these issues, and the only way to do it is higher prices.
By raising prices, we will be able to secure more trucking options for you, secure additional product from our lumber mills, and resolve any supply issues going forward. Rest assured, we are constantly trying to find more production and better transportation options. As always, we encourage your feedback, questions, and phone calls.
According to a recent article, available here, trucking prices for full truckloads have increased 6.8% from 2017 to 2018. LTL loads are getting it even worse, at 8% price increases already this year. As the article points out (and we did too earlier this year) transportation prices are under attack from increased demand and decreased availability. Companies have tried switching to other modes of moving goods, including trains and boats, but prices on those modes of transportaion are also high for the same exact reasons.
What's all this mean to you? With the sudden economic boom of the economy, and more regulations on truck drivers and trucking companies, prices will continue to increase. We have already seen specific lanes increase in price by hundreds of dollars. The new pricing also seems to be higher for rural farmers and retail operations that are located farther away from a major transportation hub.
It amazes me in the day and age of information that people can still write something amazingly incorrect and get away with it. Even after their premise is proven wrong, often repeatedly, the inaccurate information contiues to be spread far and wide. People also tend to believe information that is written by a non profit organization as truth; even when there is zero evidence or factual information in the article to back up their claim.
A perfect example of this exists here:
"Some people use pine shavings, but even though pine has less aromatic oils than cedar, a guinea pig’s sense of smell is very sensitive. What doesn’t smell to you can have quite an aroma to him. One study suggested that rabbits kept on pine bedding had elevated liver enzymes, so there is some doubt as to the safety of pine bedding for small animals."
Now for the sake of clarity, I have attached the link to the entire article so that you can see where this has been written as a fact for the world to see. The author of the original article did not provide a link to the supposed "study" however. The reason why? Probably because there are 2 different studies, and it contains flawed science.
The proper article, that should be read (available here), talks about both studies done on rabbits and their elevated liver enzymes. The article summarizes the findings, and contains links to both articles/publications so that you can make your own decison about your animal bedding. Long story made short; pine shavings are still the most economical and safest bedding to use with your rabbits.
Pine River Bedding Blog
Are you interested in what we have going on under the hood and behind the scenes?