Beginning of 2021 Imported Hardwoods Update

Written by Jesper Bach

After taking a little bit of a break in January, it’s time for another update on our imported hardwoods, and what we are currently seeing in the market.

On our end, January went by very fast. It may have started out slow but business came roaring back as the month rolled on. In fact, we shipped out more lumber in January 2021 than most months of 2020!importhardwoodupdate2021

While that was an encouraging sight, it hasn’t gone unnoticed that there are some challenges ahead. Particularly on the inbound side of things.

Thankfully, Africa still doesn’t seem to have any major COVID issues. For the most part, production is back to full capacity after shutting down over the holidays in all areas. The issue currently is shipping out of Douala in Cameroon. There is definitely a shortage of shipping containers available, and more than one vessel didn’t call on the port as scheduled, so we are seeing containers rolled to future vessels as well. TIA (This is Africa) is a common saying, it’s really hard to tell what to expect there, but we hope it turns around and shipments will start picking up soon.

In addition to the delayed shipments from Africa, South America is also experiencing some issues. A few areas in Brazil have experienced some lockdowns with authorities checking documents for legality. This is leading to delays on some of the imported hardwoods coming from there and, in some cases, some pretty hefty price increases on products being offered.

South American Mahogany is also facing some import challenges. We source our South American Mahogany from Mexico. Unfortunately, the authorities there were slow to issue the CITES documents all of last year. This lead to 2-3 month delays on shipments. The authorities have now gone from working all week to 2 days per week, resulting in even further delays on shipments.

With all sorts of challenges on the sourcing side, we are fortunate to be very busy on the selling side. However, in light of these importing challenges, there have been some price increases for certain species of imported hardwoods, and more increases are anticipated.

While a lot of this news may not be positive, rest assured that we are working hard to keep a balanced inventory for our customers to rely on.  


Jesper Bach
Baillie Lumber Co.
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