US hardwood lumber exports to India register remarkable 228% growth in the first half of 2021

Total exports of the United States (US) hardwood lumber and veneer to India for the first half of 2021 reached US$3.685 million, according to American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC), the leading international trade association for the American hardwood industry. Statistics compiled from the latest data and released by the United States Department of Agriculture reveal that US hardwood lumber exports to India reached US$2.019 million, while U.S. hardwood veneer exports were valued at US$1.666 million.

A closer look at the numbers reveals that the total hardwood lumber shipped from the United States to India increased by 228% in value to US$2.019 million (up from US$ 615,000) and by 218% in volume to 3,322 m3 (up from 1,044 m3). The top five American hardwood species exported were hickory (US$715,000 and 1,172 m3), ash (US$437,000 and 642 m3), white oak (US$335,000 and 589 m3), red alder (US$252,000 and 455 m3) and red oak (US$223,000 and 381 m3).

“Significant increases were seen in both value and volume of exports across all species, which proves that 2020 was a temporary dip in an otherwise upward trend. Despite global lumber shortages, uncertainty in freight rates and availability of containers, and generally increasing prices across all species, exports of both US hardwood lumber and veneer to India were up year-on-year, whilst exports of logs continued their downward spiral, in line with the general shift seen in recent years by Indian buyers towards importing value-added kiln-dried lumber instead of logs,” said Roderick Wiles, AHEC Regional Director.

AHEC expects demand for American hardwoods in India to at least return to record levels seen in 2019 this year. However, the market environment that has developed through the pandemic and has pushed prices upwards worldwide is still with us, according to AHEC. It is a unique mix of increased global international demand, record transport costs, combined with restricted global production due to harvesters and mills running short of personnel from COVID-19 infections and implementation of pandemic-safe work practices.

Pointing to the sustained growth of US hardwood exports to India over the past few years, Wiles said: “American hardwoods are now widely accepted and understood across India, but there is still a lot more to be done to help the market discover the untapped potential of US hardwoods. Given the tremendous potential present in India and despite the major challenges facing the wider use of American hardwoods, we firmly believe that the timing is right for American hardwoods in India, and that genuine opportunities for business now exist.”