Exports of U.S. hardwood lumber and veneer to South Africa reach USD 10.79 million in 2013

AHEC reveals new outreach strategy for the region ahead of its participation at ‘Dubai WoodShow 2014’

April 03, 2014 – Total exports of U.S. hardwood lumber and veneer South Africa reached USD 10.79 million for the year 2013, according to a statement issued by the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC), the leading international trade association for the American hardwood industry. The statistics, which have been compiled from the latest data released from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), reveal a 32 percent increase over 2012 figures. In addition, AHEC has also revealed its new outreach strategy for the year ahead of its participation at the ‘Dubai WoodShow 2014’, which will take place from April 8 – 10.

According to the data released, exports of American hardwood lumber reached a value of USD 7.07 million and a volume of 10,679 cubic meters, marking an increase of 22 percent and 32 percent respectively over 2012. A closer look at the numbers also revealed that direct shipments of U.S. hardwood veneers to South Africa last year reached a total value of USD 3.72 million, rising by 56 percent in comparison to 2012. At the same time, U.S. hardwood log exports to South Africa reached a value of USD 1.41 million and a volume of 2,852 cubic meters last year.

“The acceptance of American hardwoods in South Africa has increased significantly in recent years. As the country’s joinery, furniture and flooring manufacturing base grows and as disposable incomes increase, AHEC anticipates that demand for U.S. hardwoods will continue to rise for the foreseeable future,” said Roderick Wiles, AHEC Director for Africa, Middle East, South Asia and Oceania. “We are positive of increased demand for American hardwoods in South Africa, not just because of the consistency in availability, quality and grade, and wide range of colors, grains and textures but also on account of their proven sustainability and legality.”

In terms of species, white oak (5,845 cubic meters) accounted for just over half of the total volume of U.S. hardwood lumber shipped to South Africa during 2013. A significant volume was also made up by ash (1,396 cubic meters) with the majority of the remainder being accounted for by a wide range of species, including red oak, walnut, tulipwood, cherry and maple. Interestingly, the highest growth was seen in imports of tulipwood, which almost doubled in comparison to the previous year. South African importers have also started buying thermally-modified American hardwoods in recent years, which are primarily used in decking.

Positive of increased growth across the region, AHEC will be participating at the annual ‘Dubai WoodShow’, which takes place at the Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre (DICEC). During the three-day show, AHEC will be hosting a pavilion with individual booths occupied by twelve U.S. hardwood exporting companies along with the Hardwood States Export Group (HSEG) – a coalition of major eastern U.S. hardwood exporting states. Confirmed exhibitors include Nina Company; American Lumber; Missouri Walnut; Wheeland Lumber Company; Kretz Lumber; Baillie Lumber; Northland Corporation; Somerset Wood Products; Northwest Hardwoods; Snowbelt Hardwoods; Hermitage Hardwood; and Robinson Lumber Company.

Outlining AHEC’s education and promotion strategy for 2014, Wiles said: “Through 2014, AHEC will re-focus its strategy in South Africa on education aimed at all elements of the ‘timber chain’, whether it is specifiers (architects and interior designers), end users (furniture and joinery manufacturers) or importers and distributors. AHEC also intends to conduct seminars across the region, highlighting positive developments such as the growing acceptance of thermally-modified U.S. hardwoods, which can be used in exterior applications, such as decking and cladding.”

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