CORINTH, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Maine's pellet market is struggling this year.
The companies that make pellets are a number of factors including warm weather.
For one pellet maker in Corinth, a slump in sales could mean it has to shut its doors. As recently as last year, pellets were considered a bright spot for Maine's forest products industry.
But this year, the situation is entirely different.
We spoke with a few pellet mills about how their sales and production compare year-to-year. Northeast Pellets in Ashland says the market is very soft in 2016.
Company owner Matt Bell attributes that to the mild winter, low fuel prices, and the low Canadian exchange rate.
Last year, the company was making pellets 24 hours a day, six days a week and this year its running three days a week, every other week. Maine Woods Pellets in Athens is saying similar things and is operating at 40 percent of its capacity.
The director of sales at Corinth Pellets in Corinth say his company has significantly less demand for its products this year.
He told NEWS CENTER sales for the first 10 days of this month. are down 88 percent.
“We had literally no pellets in storage last year,” said Mark Parent. “As soon as we produced them, we'd ship them, a lot of times trucks were waiting for our production to be shipped as its being produced. this year we actually have pellets offsite in storage in Bangor and around different areas too. So we're ahead on production by over 10,000 tons right now.”
Parent says if conditions don't improve, the plant may have to lay off employees or shut down.
Twenty five people work there right now.