4Q2022 Tropical Hardwood Update

As we enter the fourth quarter of the year, we have been encouraged by some much welcome changes to the imported hardwood lumber market. However, some aspects of the business are still difficult to navigate.

4Q Tropical UpdateThroughout August and September we did see more tropical hardwood lumber arriving from Africa. As a result, we finally have some more product to work with and meet the needs of our customers. We have returned to a more balanced inventory. Specifically, we can more consistently offer shipments of Sapele in all thicknesses from 4/4” through 16/4” for the first time this year!

On the transportation front I am seeing conflicting information. On the one hand, I keep reading articles about lower freight rates worldwide. However, that seems to be heavily focused on lanes shipping out of Asia. Because on the other hand, our experience has been quite different for shipments out of Africa. For example, just last week we saw another price increase in shipping rates from Africa to the North America. This is causing us to still deal with elevated costs for transportation on our imported hardwoods from that region. Fortunately, the strong United States dollar has helped keep price increases to our customers on most items in check for now!

Earlier this year I mentioned the challenges pertaining to fuel for our suppliers in Africa. Fuel availability and fuel prices are still a concern for them. In some cases, their price for fuel has risen between 200% and 300%.  In some instances, this has resulted in kilns being shut down or a cease in production temporarily until they can once again operate in profitable manner.

For us here at Baillie Lumber, I believe we are in decent shape here for the fourth quarter.  We still have a healthy amount of lumber set to arrive in the first quarter of 2023. We do see anticipate that some species will continue to be difficult to source such as Genuine Mahogany, Wenge and Zebrawood. So, if you are in the market for those type of items, be sure to keep checking for our updated stock list to see what is available and what is coming down the road.  And we do have a few truck loads of 8/4 African Mahogany available for prompt shipment, so give us a call today to see how fast we can get it to you!

Jesper Bach
Baillie Lumber Co.
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