The Latest on the State of Imported Tropical Lumber

Written by Jesper Bach

I don’t think anyone could have imagined the current situation of the market coming into 2020, what a roller coaster it has been so far.

Our import yard in Cove City, NC remains open as an essential business, but our production is reduced as we have implemented extra distance between our employees. The majority of our customers remain open today, but that part has been a roller coaster also as states institute different measures at different times.  DSC7886

So, we are still open, and we are still shipping, but what else is going on in the world of imports?

We have not canceled any contracts with our suppliers. Some shipments are coming and the ports and truckers are still working to bring the product to us. Our future purchases are extremely limited at this time. However, we have a good inventory to sell from, but there are just too many unknowns out there. Shipments are coming a little slower from Africa today, there are a limited amount of containers available for export, the same problem that is showing up in the US in regards to shipping containers to Asia, the whole flow of containers around the world has seen a very large disruption and that is causing problems. COVID 19 has been found in many countries in Africa already, but they have limited testing available, so it’s hard to read any numbers and from that guess at what the future holds there. We absolutely hope and pray that Africa does not see large outbreaks as that could be devastating to that region. Some African countries have curfews at this time, others have shut down completely or in a limited fashion.  South and Central America could see issues as well, there is no telling there how bad it could get either, so from all regions of the world there could be disruptions coming to our supply chain.

Other markets are changing how they purchase as well, so we are also looking at new/alternative products that were not available to the US market in the past due to demand from other continents. One of those is 2 Common Red Grandis. This was typically sold in Asia in the past, but is currently available in volume for the US market. This is not a regular 2 Common grade, the main defects are knots and pith as this 6/4” and 8/4” product comes from the center of the logs, and the widths are primarily 6”+ wider and all of the product is 8’+ longer. Which is highly unusual for 2 Common lumber. This would be great for butcher blocks, paint grade products, etc. It is important to note that the Red Grandis we offer is 100% FSC certified from managed plantations in Uruguay. 

If this is something that could be of interest to you please do let us know. You can learn more about the properties of Red Grandis on our website, here

Stay safe, and we will bring another update on the import situation in May.

Jesper Bach
Baillie Lumber Co.
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