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Commodities

Log exports from Canada and the US to Asia have increased this year with the shipment

July 21, 2014, Monday, 07:06 GMT | 02:06 EST | 10:36 IST | 13:06 SGT

Seattle, USA. North American log exports to Asia over the past several years have boosted profitability for timberland owners while challenging the domestic solid wood sector mainly in northwestern US and Coastal British Columbia. In the 1Q/14, the North American export volume was 14% higher than in the 1Q/13 and 30% more than the same quarter in 2012, as reported by the North American Wood Fiber Review (NAWFR). Almost 53% of the overseas exports have been shipped from the US Northwest, while 41% was from British Columbia and the remaining share of shipments were split between Alaska, California and the US South.
 
There are nine ports that handle breakbulk log shipments along the US West Coast. The Port of Longview in Southwest Washington exports more logs than all the other eight ports combined, according to Jones Stevedoring. In the past five quarters, each of the eight ports shipped an average of one vessel per month, while the Port at Longview loaded one vessel for Asia every three days. The major exporting companies at this location are Chugoku, Weyerhaeuser, Pacific Lumber & Shipping, Sojitz and TPT. Read more about the west coast log exports in the latest issue of the NAWFR.    
 
Coastal British Columbia is also a major supplier of logs to the Asian markets, with a majority of the timber originating from private timberlands on Vancouver Island. Over the past year, shipments have been approximately 1.5 million m3 per quarter, which is up from an average of 1.2 million m3 per quarter during 2011 and 2012.
 
Perhaps the most interesting development the past year has been the sharp increase in shipments of logs in containers from the US South. These exports have been mainly to China and India. Although the total volume is still relatively small as compared to the US West Coast export volumes, the US South share of total overseas exports from the US was over six percent during the first five months of this year as compared to only two percent for the same period in 2012, as reported in the NAWFR (www.woodprices.com).
 
Total shipments of southern yellow pine were up 130% for the period January through May this year compared to the same period last year, and volumes are already 70% more than they were for all of 2012. Combined with the first reported bulk shipload departing from the Port of Baton Rouge in May, we are likely to see increased exports of logs from the Southern states in the coming years.