Timber Exports

Northwest forests are providing a boost to the building boom in China and will likely help with the rebuilding of post-tsunami Japan. The region's loggers and longshoremen can say thanks, in part, to the Russians.

About a mile from the state Capitol as the gull flies or the salmon swims, logs cut in Southwest Washington and the Olympic Peninsula are gathered in stacks two to three stories high. After being bark-stripped and graded, they wait for cargo freighters like the Louise Bulker to navigate Budd Inlet at the southern end of Puget Sound and tie up at the Port of Olympia.

Nearly as long as two football fields, the Louise Bulker arrived empty two weeks ago. When it left four days later for Tianshin, China, longshoremen and stevedores had filled its holds and stacked the deck 15 to 20 logs high with some 5.5 million board feet of timber.

Many Northwest ports are experiencing a boom in log shipments, but nowhere is it more dramatic than in Olympia, where Weyerhaeuser moved one of its exporting operations from Tacoma about two years ago to service its Japan trade. Pacific Lumber and Shipping also has increased its use of the Olympia port for shipments to China.

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