Lower ipe and sapelli imports
The US imported 71,797 cu.m. of temperate and tropical
sawn hardwood in March, down 10% from February. The
value of hardwood imports grew in March, but tropical
imports declined in both value and volume.
Tropical sawn hardwood imports declined for the third
consecutive month to 17,496 cu.m. Year-to-date tropical
hardwood imports were down 9% compared to March
While imports of the major species declined in March (ipe,
sapelli and balsa), imports of jatoba, meranti and teak
increased. Keruing sawnwood imports were slightly down
in March, but year-to-date volumes more than doubled
from March 2017.
The largest growth in tropical hardwood imports year-todate
was from Malaysia.
Canada imports more tropical sawnwood through the
Canadian tropical sawnwood imports grew in March, but
year-to-imports remained lower than at the same time last
year. The month-over-month drop was mainly in imports
of mahogany and meranti.
Sapelli sawnwood imports recovered in March. Compare
to last year, Canada imported more sapelli from the
Congo, while imports from Cameroon declined. The share
of tropical imports via the US grew to over 40% in March.
Online LCA tool launched for American hardwoods
The American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) has
launched its online LCA tool which enables timber
suppliers to use environmental impact data in promoting
Architects, designers and their clients can find data on the
carbon footprint, depletion of non-renewable resources,
water contamination and many other environmental
impacts associated with processing and transport.
The tool covers the main commercial US hardwood
species (22) in any thickness. It generates a range of
environmental impact data based on the transport of 1
cu.m. of kiln-dried sawnwood from the US to any part in
the world. In addition to the LCA data, the tool calculates
the growth time of 1 cu.m. for each species, based on the
US Forest Service inventory database. The abundant red
oak forests grow 1 cu.m. in 0.57 seconds.
The data is derived from an ISO conformant LCA model.
The eight environmental impact categories shown are a
selection of those used in EN15804-conformant
Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) of
construction products and are being pilot tested for the
EU¡¯s Product Environmental Footprint initiative.
The LCA tool is available on the AHEC website at
Thermally modified US hardwoods pushed SE. Asia
The American Hardwood Export Council has brought its
promotion of thermally modified hardwoods from Europe
At recent furniture fairs in Singapore AHEC displayed
heat treated white oak and red oak. Some of the US
hardwoods were heat treated at a plant in Indonesia, as
reported in the Import/Export Purchasing News
IWPA joins U.S. Global Value Chain Coalition
The US Global Value Chain Coalition was formed in late
2017 to educate policymakers about the importance of
global trade to US employers.
The coalition initially focused on retail trade, especially
consumer apparel, but recently the International Wood
Products Association (IWPA), who represents importers
and distributors of imported wood, joined the coalition.
The IWPA will continue through the coalition its work
towards keeping trade free and avoiding trade wars,
protectionist measures and non-tariff barriers on wood
Construction cost on the rise
Construction material prices grew in April and were 6.4%
higher than at the same time in 2017, according to U.S.
Bureau of Labor Statistics data. April saw the largest
month-over-month increase in almost three years.
The trade dispute with Canada over sawn softwood
imports and the proposed tariffs on steel and aluminium
contribute to price increases.
While residential and non-residential construction is
expected to grow over the next year or two, the price
increases along with other factors such as labour
shortages, may impede further progress.
US cities topped the list of most expensive cities in the
world to build in this year according to the engineering
Washington State to increase construction with¡¯ mass
Washington State passed legislation that directs the State
Building Code Council to include rules about the use of
mass timber in building construction. The purpose of the
law is to make it easier to build commercial and residential
buildings in wood over six storeys high.
Two new CLT mass timber manufacturing plants were
recently announced for Washington State, according to
Mass timber construction uses large prefabricated wood
members for wall, floor and roof construction. Mass
timber products include glue-laminated timber (glulam),
cross-laminated timber (CLT) and nail-laminated lumber