sustainability priorities

infrastructure & technology

Investing in Infrastructure & Technology 

By embracing the highest standards and advancing innovation in our manufacturing operations and woodlands, we increase efficiency, keep our workplaces safe, and deliver high-quality products.

We invest in modern, efficient technology in our mills. In the last decade, we have spent close to $750 million upgrading facilities and systems to employ the latest technologies. We have recently moved into a new phase of our ongoing capital investment strategy that will see more than $500 million in discretionary capital invested to upgrade our manufacturing facilities over the next three to four years.

We also invest in new technology to be used in the woodlands we manage and we support technology investments made by the timber harvesting companies and landowners we work with. Research, in partnership with other organizations, also plays an important role in making Interfor more efficient.

Capital Investments ($mm)

2018 Achievements and Actions
  • We invested more than $139 million of capital in 2018 towards maintaining, upgrading and improving our equipment and technology at our mills and woodland operations.
  • A substantial amount of work for Phase I of the Capital Investment Strategy was completed in 2018:
    • Two strategic capital projects totalling US$65 million at Monticello, AR and Meldrim, GA sawmills.
    • These infrastructure projects are designed to increase production by approximately 150 million board feet per year.
    • These projects are on track to be finished by the end of Q2-2019.
  • Phase II of our Capital Investment Strategy was announced in Q3-2018:
    • Three new strategic capital projects totaling US$240 million at Thomaston, GA; Eatonton, GA and Georgetown, SC sawmills.
    • These infrastructure projects are designed to increase production capacity by approximately 275 million board feet per year.
    • The projects are expected to be completed in various phases during 2019 to 2021.
  • Both Phase I & II of the Capital Investment Strategy include major modernizations and rebuilds with new technology such as continuous dry kilns and autograders. These investments will substantially reduce production costs, improve lumber recovery and enhance grade outturns and product mix.
  • As a member of FPInnovations, a non-profit focused on fueling the prosperity of the forest sector through scientific excellence, we supported development of innovative solutions and best management practices to enhance our industry and address priority needs. Recent examples include:
    • Progressing on the Steep Slope Initiative, which aims to improve worker safety and provide sustainable access to steep slope fiber in Western Canada. In 2018, Interfor provided two BC Interior logging contractors with stable, multi-year contracts to support their purchase of winch-assisted (steep slope) harvesting equipment. 2018 was also the first year where all three current winch-assisted systems in the BC Interior worked exclusively on steep terrain.
    • Supporting research into using synthetic wrappers — which are significantly lighter than the metal wrappers currently used — to see if they will reduce shoulder injuries among log truck drivers while still properly securing the load.
    • Supporting the development of logging truck rollover mitigation systems through identifying and eliminating root causes. Log hauling is the second most dangerous aspect of the forest industry, after manual falling.
    • Attending and providing feedback on the woody debris management workshop and facilitating discussion on improved fiber utilization. Improving fiber usage during harvesting will increase available sawlogs thereby helping to mitigate mid-term timber supply pressures, reduce the amount of material burned and the associated emissions, and maximize the value of the public resource.
    • Completing a proof of concept project for virtual reality forest management planning in collaboration with LlamaZoo and FPInnovations. This technology will allow companies to design and plan high quality roads and harvest blocks within a computer model environment using LiDAR data. This will provide numerous benefits for future forest managers, including transparent sharing of operating plans with the public, First Nations and other stakeholders.
  • We funded and participated in a research project with the University of Georgia focused on wood processor utilization and efficiencies. The wood processor is a relatively new tool in Georgia, and we wanted to analyze the benefits of increased utilization of the timber resource for landowners and logging contractors.