That wood continues to have a role in Middle East construction was clear at the recently held wood exhibition and the sales competition among producers
Shipments of US hardwood lumber to the UAE grew 48 per cent to 15,723 cu m last year compared with the previous year.
The figure was provided by Roderick Wiles, director of the American Hardwood Export Council.
Exports of US hardwood lumber to some other Middle East states were: Egypt (up by 22 per cent to 11,614 cu m), Jordan (up by 18 per cent to 5,949 cu m), Lebanon (up by 23 per cent to 4,735 cu m), Qatar (up by 55 per cent to 3,015 cu m) and Morocco (up by 31 per cent to 2,329 cu m). However, a marginal downturn in volume of 2 per cent was seen in shipments to Turkey, which reached 12,700 cu m and a slight downturn was seen in shipments to Saudi Arabia, which reached 10,513 cu m.
Wiles highlighted the importance of the UAE market. “There are 300 wood processing factories in UAE sending processed wood to the Middle East and Africa, as well as London and New York. Thus, the UAE forms a very important market, and we see tremendous growth potential in the field of wood trading,” he said.
Sweden exports 3 million cu m of wood to the Mena region valued at 750 million euros ($815.5 million). Around a fourth of this value is accounted for by the UAE, 187.5 million euros, underlining the position of the UAE market as a re-export centre, according to Jan Soderlind, international director of Swedish Wood.
“We look at the UAE as a hub to boost our exports of wood to all over the region. We compete with Russia and Finland in exporting wood to the Middle East,” said Soderlind.
“Swedish products are of very high quality as they follow high-end technologies in terms of cutting. We are the second largest producers of wood in Europe, after Germany, with a production capacity of 17 million cu m. However, our domestic consumption does not exceed 5 million cu m, leaving 12 million cu m for exports which makes us the biggest wood exporter in Europe. The Mena region takes one-fourth of that surplus (3 million cu m).”
Wiles and Soderlind took part in the Dubai International Wood & Wood Machinery Show.
Exhibitors from USA, Canada, Malaysia and China, among other markets, displayed a wide array of the latest wood products from their countries and met with potential customers visiting the show.
The Swedish presence, at the leading wood show, which is an annual meeting point for producers, manufacturers, importers, exporters, dealers, suppliers and end-users and other players in the wood industry, represented 70 per cent of the total producers of Swedish wood.
Soderlind said it was the second time that a Swedish country pavilion was at the show. The wide wide array of companies reflected Sweden’s great legacy as a wood producer.
Lynn Wang, sales manager in the wood department at CNBM International Corporation, said: “We are a government company in China, considered the biggest building materials company. We are ranked 500 in the world in this field. We have manufacturing factories, but we concentrate more on trading. We export our products to the GCC and North Africa and other states. Our UAE branch is in Jebel Ali, and we sell a significant amount of wood yearly in the UAE. On the second day of the show, we signed six contracts with new customers.”
Top German, Italian and Spanish machinery suppliers also showcased their offerings.
Key exhibitors at the Dubai Woodshow 2015 said they received many visitors interested in their latest manufacturing equipment, it added.
Josine Heijmans, exhibition director of the Dubai WoodShow, said: “The Dubai WoodShow reinforced its position as the regional landmark event for wood trade and investment.
“The show provided a strategic platform for showcasing latest wood industry products and suppliers, while at the same time giving exhibitors the opportunity to explore new markets and strengthen relations with new and existing clients,” she said.