Indians are known for buying more of round logs to down size the timber locally but the current trend hints a shift from that point. The growth in import of 'Sawn timber' volumes showing a maturity in market demands. It also indicates the growing competitiveness among commodity suppliers abroad. Shipment of Pine lumber from US, Germany and Canada is on the rise significantly.
The 'Hardwood Sawn Timber' imports are also increasing at compared to the situation two years ago. Earlier decorative hardwood sawn timber was imported from American countries but 'the increasing volume of sawn timber from Malaysia, ndonesia and Myanmar' is also significant. The import duty from ASEAN countries has come down to zero as per business agreement with India and ASEAN, that makes rise in sawn timber import too.
It is expected that timber imports in the country will be almost two & half times more than that of present volumes by 2021. According to experts "Over the next decade, India is expected to become the world's next substantial wood fibre import market (second only to China). It is estimated that now 'Kandla Port' would witness an import of approx 2000 cbm softwood timbers every month. The development of Paradip Port in Eastern region is going to add to this trend.
Weak demands, uncertainty in prices and stuck up money at projects is leading to direct buying of sawn timber by many players. Imported sawn timber quality and 'ready to use size' with low wastage has been key point behind preference of sawn timber among Doors manufacturers, Construction companies, Furniture makers etc.
Apart from softwood planks, there has been a phenomenal growth in Sawn Timber arrival on Kandla, Tutikorin and Nava Shewa ports. The compiled stats from the latest data released by USDA, shows a value jump by 83 percent over the January to September period of 2015. We have seen that scarcity of timber resources in India has led to steep rise in imports. In fact the log imports in India have doubled since 2006 in order to meet the country's growing appetite for wood products.
According to estimates, the requirement of imported wood in the country is annually one crores cbm, hence arrival of new timber zone can be a vital and booming factor for wood based industries which struggle to expand due to licensing issues. In India, 70 percent of the wood import is facilitated at Kandla port in Gujarat.
In a significant move in timber sector is the fast work on Imported Timber Processing Zone (ITPZ) at Paradip, Odisha. The move is holding opportunities as it once happened during Kandla growth. As per available information from different sources, it is learnt that around 200 small, medium and large processing units will find place at Paradip ITPZ. Several investors have applied to the Department of MSME to invest in the ITPZ. Keen interest shown by many companies like Century Ply including multinational timber processing companies like Domogeo of USA, Lifespace of Australia the Paradip Port holds possibilities for secondary downstream industries.
In a similar recent development, a new plant KEF Infra in Krishnagiri, Tamil Nadu is built with an investment of Rs 120 crore. The unit builds on automation technology realized through robotic systems that are run by CAD-CAM software to eliminate wastage in the production line, reduce time and building costs. The unit can produce furniture and woodwork ranging from high end furniture in the palace joinery segment, as well as the full range of domestic and office furniture, with specialized design and finishes.
There is a growing trend for solid wood furniture and hybrid of 'wood and panels' combined furniture among domestic buyers. The overall trend indicates a possibility of new breed of manufacturing establishments who will opt to go for emerging market of readymade furniture, doors and export of handicraft items in India.