US hardwoods to India reach record high in 2021

Image: Ingmar Kurth

According to a press release by the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC), a record high has been achieved for US hardwood exports to India in 2021 as both the value and volume of hardwood lumber shipped to the country was more than double the previous high set in 2019.

The total value of American hardwood lumber, logs and veneer exported to India reached US$12.22 million last year despite global lumber shortages, uncertainty in freight rates and availability of containers, and generally increasing prices across all species. Overall exports of both US hardwood lumber and veneer to India were up year-on-year, while 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.

The statistics, which have been compiled from the latest data released by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), reveal that total hardwood lumber shipped from the US to India increased by 292% in value to $6.5m, up from $1.66m in 2020, and by 288% in volume to 11,109m3, up from 2,863m3 in 2020.

At the same time, direct exports of American hardwood veneers to the market increased by 9% to reach $2.69m. The increases seen last year prove that 2020 was a temporary dip in an otherwise upward trend. The value and volume of logs exported to India declined by 3% to $3.03m and by 18% to 5,411m3 respectively.

The top five American hardwood species exported were hickory ($2.056m and 2,941m3), white oak ($1.5m and 2,223m3), red alder ($1.012m and 3,028m3), red oak ($815,000 and 1,353m3), and ash ($804,000 and 1,184m3).

Significant increases were seen in the value and volume of exports of all species — hickory with 141% and 115% respectively, white oak with 454% and 375%, red alder with 4,013% and 3,548%, red oak with 731% and 696%, ash with 360% and 293%, walnut with 406% and 146%, and maple with 183% and 170%.

Aiming to support and sustain this increased interest in American hardwoods, AHEC has announced its participation at INDIAWOOD, which is due to run from 2-6 Jun 2022 at the Bangalore International Exhibition Center.

“Limited domestic hardwood supplies, coupled with strong sustained growth in the retail furniture, handicraft and hospitality sectors has driven the demand for new species, making India an attractive and long-term prospective market for US hardwoods,” said Roderick Wiles, AHEC Regional Director. “With India making genuine progress towards fulfilling its potential as a major market for US hardwoods, AHEC is participating at INDIAWOOD with an American hardwood pavilion, which includes several US-based hardwood and veneer exporters. We anticipate that there will be a significant amount of interest from visitors in the American Hardwood Pavilion and that the US companies taking part in the show will find it to be very worthwhile.”