AHEC announces record year for US hardwood exports to India

AHEC at IndiaWood 2024 (Image: AHEC)

The total value of exports of US hardwood lumber and veneers to India in 2023 was US$8.482m, according to the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC).

The statistics, which have been compiled from the latest data released by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), were announced following AHEC’s successful participation at INDIAWOOD, which ran from 22-26 Feb 2024 at the Bangalore International Exhibition Centre (BIEC), in Bengaluru, India.

A total of 14 US hardwood log, lumber and veneer exporters participated at the show under the banner of the American Hardwood Pavilion.

A closer look at the numbers for 2023 reveals that total hardwood lumber shipped from the US to India increased by 3% in value to $7.024m, up from $6.839m in 2022, and by 21% in volume to 11,604m3, up from 9,614m3 in 2022.

At the same time, direct exports of American hardwood veneers to the market reached $1.458m while exports of logs fell to $3.569m, down by 47%, and 6,250m3, down by 36%. A record year of exports to India coupled with India’s growing appetite for temperate hardwoods in the face of decreasing local supply has bolstered US hardwood exporters to become increasingly active in India.

The top six American hardwood species exported to India last year were white oak ($1.894m and 2,880m3), red oak ($1.251m and 2,160m3), hickory ($1.175m and 1,428m3), ash ($1.09m and 1,964m3), maple ($662,000 and 1,417m3) and walnut ($301,000 and 326m3).

The biggest increases were seen in the value and volume of exports of ash by 235% and 282% respectively, maple by 242% and 231%, and walnut by 45% and 52%.

Committed to supplying India, which has demonstrated a growing appetite for US hardwoods in recent years, AHEC participated at IndiaWood 2024 with an American hardwood pavilion, which included 14 US-based hardwood exporters.

AHEC also hosted a ‘mini-convention’ and trade servicing mission to Jaipur following the conclusion of IndiaWood. Several US hardwood exporting companies in addition to AHEC staff and technical consultants traveled to Jaipur in Rajasthan to conduct a series of factory visits in conjunction with the Federation of Rajasthan Handicraft Exporters (FORHEX).

Building on previous successful activities that have been jointly hosted by AHEC and FORHEX, the trade servicing mission aimed to facilitate real trade between manufacturers in Jaipur and AHEC members.

Visits to some of the leading manufacturers also helped American hardwood exporters better understand their needs, whilst the seminar threw the spotlight on new opportunities for American hardwoods, particularly for products destined for export markets.

“India emerged as the biggest growth market for US hardwood lumber in H1 2023 and this trend continued throughout the year. Our participation at IndiaWood reflects our commitment to cater to and expand further in this market at a time when demand for American hardwoods is at an unprecedented high,” said Roderick Wiles, AHEC regional director.

“However, this growing interest must be supported by a better understanding of the physical properties and potential for applications offered by the different species of American hardwood. Our participation at the show as well as the seminar with FORHEX provided the perfect opportunity to share this knowledge and to build a stronger relationship with Indian architects, interior designers, furniture designers, and manufacturers.”