Chairman and founder of Terminal Forest Products, Asa Johal.
TERMINAL FOREST PRODUCTS—50 Years In Business and Still Growing Strong
Richmond, B.C.—2012 marks 50 years in business for Terminal Forest Products (TFP). Terminal Forest Products manufactures approximately 100 million board feet of value-added Western Red Cedar lumber annually. Marketing products throughout North America and globally, the company also offers custom log cutting and sorting services to a variety of international customers.
Among the largest continuous buyers of coastal Cedar saw logs, TFP has created long-term relationships with First Nations suppliers, independent logging companies and other larger integrated companies. Starting in the woods TFP monitors the quality of products to ensure the optimum value of every tree is maximized. Working side-by-side with supply partners TFP assists them in obtaining the best product and the best value from each log, using sustainable forest practices.
The company secures high quality Western Red Cedar logs from the coast of British Columbia. Logs arrive at the sawmill by water and are sawn into rough, green lumber. That lumber is then sorted according to size and grade in preparation for further manufacture at the planer mill. At the planer mill, the lumber is blanked, trimmed, regraded and sorted to length. From the planer, most production moves on for kiln drying and further finishing at the remanufacturing plants. Established in 1962, Terminal has grown fromonesmallsawmillemployingeight peopletoseveralhundredemployees today. Thecompanycurrentlyownstwo sawmillsinthe Vancouver,B.C. area,a remanufacturing plant in Everson, Wash., andalogsortingoperationinGibsons, B.C.
TFP’s Mainland Sawmill Division, located in Vancouver, B.C., pro- vides premium custom cutting services to a large and exacting customer base.
The company’s roots began in 1955 when Chairman Asa Johal and a partner landed a contract to take away low-grade plywood cores from a Vancouver area plywood mill. They would buck up the low-grade cores for firewood. Once cut into firewood, they sold and delivered product around the Vancouver area.
Johal explains that when the market slowed down in 1958 he started buying the higher grade plywood cores, 8 ½” in diameter, and manufacturing studs. “The cores were perfectly round and the right length so each core would yield exactly six studs. That venture made enough money to war- rant the installation of a gang saw in 1960,” said Johal.
In 1962 Johal went into business for him- self and built the original sawmill on Mitchell Island thus founding Terminal Forest Products Ltd. The operation started on just 3.5 acres.Over the years Johal continued to purchase adjoining properties and today the site encompasses over 32 acres.
When the business was still in its infancy, Johal’s wife, Kashmir, used to take sash gang saw blades to a company called Spear & Jackson in Burnaby, B.C., for sharpening.Soon after that, Johal met a saw filer at a competitor’s mill.Johal and that gentleman worked out an arrangement that the filer would come to the mill after work and file saws in his spare time. That worked for a while but once Johal installed a double arbor gang saw there was enough full time work for two people. Johal’s friend and another filer then came over to Terminal.
The company’s dry land log sorting facility in Langdale, B.C., is a state-of- the-art, waste-free operation. Approximately one million cubic meters of logs are custom sorted annually at this facility and customers are offered ISO and chain-of-custody certification.
Johal purchased the assets of Burke Lumber in Vancouver in 1973. That operation’s name was changed to Mainland Sawmills Ltd. The company has operated as a custom cut sawmill ever since.
TFP’s Mainland Sawmill Division provides premium custom cutting services to a large and exacting customer base. “Customers bring their high value high-grade logs to Mainland because they understand that our precision manufacturing will provide them with the maximum utilization for each log,” Johal explained. “We encourage our customers to work right alongside us to receive advice on the optimum return of their logs. They also have the option to identify how the log should be cut and they recognize the value of Mainland’s flexibility and ability to change specifications ‘on-the-fly.’”
In 1978 Johal purchased a five-acre parcel in Vancouver and built a remanufacturing plant. At that time the remanufacturing plant was the most modern in the PacificNorthwest with the newest technologies. There was a state-of-the art finger jointer and one of the first computerized chop optimizing saws.
Johal purchased Transco Mills on Mitchell Island in 1979. He added dry kilns and a resaw line to that location.
TFP’s state-of-the-art remanufacturing facility, SELCO is located just south of the Canada/U.S. border in Everson, Wash.
The year 1986 brought Terminal Forest Products its first forest license through the purchase of L&K Lumber Ltd.With that purchase came the Langdale log-sorting yard.
The company’s dry land log sorting facility in Langdale, B.C., is a state-of-the-art, waste-free operation. Approximately one million cubic meters of logs are custom sorted annually at this facility andcustomers are offered ISO and chain-of-custody certification. Over 30,000 units of wood chips and hog fuel are produced, loaded and barged from Langdale each year.
In 1990 Terminal Forest Products became an international company with the purchase of South Everson Lumber Company Inc. (SELCO).
TFP’s state-of-the-art remanufacturing facility, SELCO is located just south of the Canada/U.S. border.
“As market demands changed, TFP shifted away from rough green products to more highly value finished products,” Johal explained. “We looked for a facility that would fit our vision of the future and improved proximity to our U.S. customer base. SELCO was acquired for its ideal location and potential for TFP to incorporate commodity products into a variety of specialty product lines.”
SELCO’s operations currently include a variety of processing lines including moulders,planers,resaws,fingerjoint/edge glue lines as well as dry kilns. It is the largest Cedar remanufacturing plant in the industry. “SELCO is the largest Cedar re- manufacturing facility in North America,” Johal indicated.
Established in 1962, Terminal has grown from one small sawmill employing eight people to more than 500. The company has two large sawmills, a planer mill, a remanufacturing plant and a dry land log sorting and chipping facility.
TFP sells all of its products through stocking distributors. “We rely on our distribution partners to flow our product to the marketplace.They are able to stock our wide range of products andgetthehighest value for our mix.” said Johal.
Johal noted that in 2010 Terminal Forest Products sold their forest licenses, becoming the largest forest products company in Canada to buy 100 percent of their logs on the open market.
Today Terminal’s operations have the capacity to produce over 500,000 board feet per shift. For more information visit www.terminalforest.com.