Green Apple Comments On Fall of Tropical Timber Imports in the EU

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The flooring supplier has offered its views as to why the EU’s imports of sawn tropical hardwood fell by 13% in 2012 compared to 2011.

The tropical log market is changing on an international scale

The team at Green Apple were interested to learn last week that imports of sawn tropical hardwood have recently dropped to only around half the volume recorded prior to the economic recession. Last year, the European Union imported just 996,000 cubic metres of tropical timber, a collective term which refers to a number of traditional favourites, including African sapele, Malaysian meranti, Asian bangkirai and South American cumaru.

According to statistics released by the Global Wood Trade Network, some of the continent’s leading importing countries, notably Belgium, France, Italy, the Netherlands and the UK, consumed significantly less tropical sawn lumber locally felled in countries such as Cameroon, Malaysia, Brazil, Gabon and Ghana. Malaysia and Brazil’s markets were the hardest hit, with sawn lumber imports hit by 27% and 22% respectively, though Cameroon has consolidated its position as the leading supplier of tropical timber and is still held accountable for approximately 36% of total supply.

The article released by the Trade Network goes on to mention that, despite the fall in orders, EU importers are currently sufficiently well stocked to meet the current level of demand. The report also alludes to the fact that many importers chose to build stocks before stringent EU timber regulations came into effect from 3rd March. Stephan MacVicar, Managing Director at Green Apple Flooring, believes that the introduction of this strict legislation has undoubtedly had a profound effect on market movement.

“We agree with the Trade Network in that the tropical log market is changing on an international scale,” he says. “As mentioned in the organisation’s report, the risks associated with importing and handling illegally felled timber has encouraged many suppliers to buy from stocks that have been landed by major trading companies – a move we can definitely identify with because we know first-hand the impact these new laws have had at each stage of the supply chain.

“However, there are many other factors which have led to the decline in EU imports. The recession has caused many suppliers to lose their buying confidence; although they are still obliged to buy enough timber to meet demand, they are becoming more selective about their purchases and are less likely to invest in a wider range of species. Engineered wood products have also been rising to the fore in recent times, too. These are largely cheaper to manufacture as an alternative to luxury tropical woods, are versatile in terms of design and don’t incur such substantial transportation and handling costs.”

Green Apple Flooring supplies an extensive range of solid wood, engineered and laminate flooring to the UK. The company is proud to stock flooring and maintenance products from some of the best-known flooring brands in Europe, including Quickstep and Elka, at extremely competitive prices. Visit the company’s website for more information or call 0800 002 9525 to speak to a member of staff directly.

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Stephen Macvicar
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