Wood-based material use in the United States pallet and container industry

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Virginia Tech


A questionnaire was sent to 2,111 U.S. pallet and container manufacturers to (1) estimate the total volume of hardwood lumber, softwood lumber, and wood-based panels used by the industry in 1991, (2) estimate lumber use by species category within the industry, and (3) predict shifts in the volumes of wood-based materials used by the U.S. pallet and container industry.

Data from 656 pallet and container manufacturers were analyzed and used to estimate total industry use of the wood materials. Total 1991 hardwood lumber and cant use was estimated to be over 3.8 billion board feet and consumption was expected to increase 13% by 1993. Softwood lumber and cant consumption in 1991 was estimated to be over 1.8 billion board feet and an increase of 7% was expected by 1993. Softwood plywood use during 1991 was estimated to account for 271 million square feet (3/4" basis) and consumption was expected to increase by 13% through 1993. Oriented strandboard use for 1991 was estimated to be 36 million square feet (7/16" basis) and use of OSB was predicted to increase 25% by 1993.

Oak was the largest single species group consumed by pallet and container manufacturers in 1991, accounting for over 1.6 billion board feet of lumber, cants, parts, and shook. Southern yellow pine consumption was an estimated 541 million board feet in 1991, followed closely by almost 500 million board feet of yellow-poplar, and over 227 million board feet of alder. Seventy percent of hardwood lumber and cant purchases (by volume) were made direct from the sawmill in 1991. Softwood lumber purchases were made either from a lumber broker (38%) or direct from the sawmill (37%).