Tropical Update June 2022

Written by Jesper Bach

In short, the state of the imported tropical hardwoods business seems to be in flux. We still see a good level of demand in the market and our lumber shipments to customers over the last 30-60 days have remained strong. But a reality we are dealing with is lower available inventory in our sheds causing a bit of a slowdown in our outbound shipments.

jspers june update imageAs for our inbound supply we do have good volumes scheduled to arrive over the next 6 – 8 weeks.  However, it is still very difficult to find enough empty containers to ship the lumber we have on order  and rates have been increasing steadily.

Not only is shipping capacity hard to find but the rise in fuel prices are driving price increases as well.

Rising prices for diesel are a burden for suppliers in Africa, just like it is here, and in worst case scenarios they are not able to even get diesel deliveries. Due to remote location some mills rely 100% on diesel for their operation, so some have had to shut down their kilns and a few their entire operation.

So that is why we say, the imported tropical hardwood business seems to be in flux.  Lots of positive momentum, but many shipping concerns to deal with. So how are we guiding our customers today? We are emphasizing a few things:

  • There is no doubt inventory in the United States in low. So, if you see something you can use buy it!
  • Be prepared to take a risk on price.  In the short term, we only see pricing rising or at best staying steady. So be careful shopping for lower alternatives.
  • If you have larger projects on the horizon, definitely plan ahead! If you need specific sorts check with your supplier in advance for what is available and what can be developed in the near future.
  • Consider alternative species. Especially if you are a distributor looking to fill your bins! Consider less frequently used items such as 4/4” Caribbean Walnut, 8/4” Makore or 4/4” Aniegre which are excellent substitutes for many lumber applications!

Let us know how we can help you with your imported hardwood needs. Contact us for our latest available inventory and our recent perspectives on the market. We would be happy to be a resource for you!

Jesper Bach
Baillie Lumber
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