What's Ahead - Imported Hardwood Market Update

Written by Jesper Bach

Anyone that has been in the hardwood lumber industry for a while knows that the only constant is change. The imported hardwood market is no different. Lately, there has been a lot going on, and we have seen plenty of changes in the marketplace for imported woods.

whatsaheadimportupdateOne thing we have seen is that the United States landed tropical hardwood inventories are still on the low side. Coupling the low inventory levels with the law of supply and demand has led to price increases on almost all of the imported woods. Additionally, as mentioned previously in last month's April blog, freight has been, and will continue to be a big factor. This has had an effect on pricing also.

In terms of the overseas market, there has been price increases everywhere for just about every specie overseas.  The increases have been anywhere from 5-15% depending on the specie. What does this mean? Well, in some cases it will have an immediate effect on the prices we sell at. However, in other cases a gradual increase over time will be noticed as we work through current inventory and the new higher priced stock arrives. With this in mind it is important to be prepared for increasing prices this year and quote jobs accordingly.

With the military coup in Burma/Myanmar the US has been stepping up sanctions and it is currently not possible to import the true Burmese Teak into the US, if you are working with Teak most definitely expect inventories to tighten and prices to rise.

One of the biggest issues at the moment is ocean freight. Primarily in regards to container and vessel capacity. The demand for containers has and will continue to outpace capacity into the 3rd quarter of this year for the US market due to the extremely heavy import demand. Ocean freight cost is an ongoing issue as well, as there have been increases from most regions. The big question mark going forward is from shipping from Africa. Unfortunately, we will not have more clarity on that until late June or early July. But we expect significant increases though.

With all that being said, we do still have a strong supply of many species of imported hardwoods. If you need imported hardwoods for your production, reach out and let us know how we can help get you what you need. We will be happy to do what we can to help!


Jesper Bach
Baillie Lumber Co.
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