This is an aerial view of Inter-Continental Hardwoods, Inc.’s hardwood concentration yard, a division of DLH Group, located in Currie, N.C.
INTER-CONTINENTAL Upgrades Facility
By Gary Miller
Currie, N.C.—Inter-Continental Hardwoods, Inc., located here, specializes in imported hardwood lumber, flooring and decking. A subsidiary of the Denmarkbased DLH Group, Inter-Continental was acquired through a merger with the tt Timber Group of Basel, Switzerland in 2006. DLH Group, USA also includes DLH Nordisk, Greensboro, N.C. and PW Hardwood LLC in Brookville, Pa. Specializing in “just-in-time” shipments of over 40 species of tropical hardwoods in up to several different thicknesses, the company has a 38-acre lumberyard with approximately 320,000 board feet of kiln capacity.
“Our tropical hardwoods are used for architectural millwork, flooring, decking and many other applications,” company President Tom Herga said. “Our key intention is to provide for the customer’s specifications.” Some of the species stocked include Aformosia, African Mahogany, Aniegre, European Beech, Iroko, Jatoba, Sapele, Utile, Wenge, Zebrawood and Cedar.
After completing their five T-sheds that provide an additional 60,000 square feet of under cover storage, the company installed a new stacking system and grading line. “We’re investing now to gear up for the future, not gear down,” Herga said, recognizing the current state of the economy.
This is a view of all the employees that attended the Inter-Continental Hardwoods, Inc. bar-b-que party.
Herga also said the new stacking system and grading line would increase the amount of available sorts for customers. “The new stacking machine and grading chain will allow about 15 extra sorts in addition to what we’re already doing,” Herga explained.
Of the company’s approximate 30 employees, key members of the ICH staff in addition to Herga include: Lenny Shibley, vice president; Tony Triolo, yard operations manager; Kiry Laufer, sales representative; and Fred Coffrin, sales representative.
Domestically, ICH ships products throughout North America. Piggyback containers handle shipments to the West Coast. Otherwise, contract trucks handle the freight movement. Herga said most shipments are full truckloads, although the company is willing to accommodate any order, regardless of size.
“The logistical advantage here at ICH has also been a key to our success,” Herga said. “Dealing with suppliers in remote and less-regulated countries can prove difficult for many companies, but we have the experience, relationships and deep cultural knowledge to ensure that transactions flow smoothly, delivery times are met and customer requirements are fulfilled.”
Tom Herga, president of Inter-Continental Hardwoods, Inc.; and Jerome Castagne and Mr. and Mrs. Odzala from the large CIB sawmill operation in Pokola, the Republic of Congo.
The firm is also FSC-Certified because the staff at ICH and the entire DLH Group understands the importance of sustainable forest management for the industry and for the continued provision of hardwood products to the world.
The DLH Group owns sawmills in Congo, Gabon, Western and Eastern Europe, manufacturing plants in Europe, Asia and Brazil and purchasing and sales offices worldwide. The DLH Group has also ensured FSC certification concessions in many of these regions.
The DLH Group of companies has been involved in the forest products business for 100 years and is utilized by ICH as a form of broad sourcing power for customers.
“At our operation, it’s more than just proper harvesting of the timber. We also try to improve the social, economic and health conditions of the people where our FSC concessions are located, wherever they may be in the world,” Vice President Lenny Shibley explained. “We’re raising the standards of living but also trying to protect the indigenous people’s way of life.”
Lenny Shibley, vice president of the company; Tom Herga, president of the firm; and Fred Coffrin, a sales representative at Inter-Continental Hardwoods, Inc.
Congolaise Industrielle des Bois (CIB), a forest management company owned by the Group in the Republic of Congo, Africa, for example, is FSC certified. “Seventy percent of the property is now FSC certified. We’re one of the first companies to have FSC certified African tropical hardwoods,” Herga said.
ICH is very involved with their suppliers. Tom Herga and Lenny Shibley travel frequently to the tropical countries from which their lumber supply comes.
In celebration of the Group’s 100th year anniversary, a contest was recently held for all employees around the world to enter, if they chose to do so. “The challenge was for the employees who wanted to enter the contest to write a story about DLH Group. The winner of the contest won a 10-day trip to any country where a DLH company was located,” Herga said. “The winner, Mr. Odzala of the CIB sawmill in Africa, created a comic strip and wrote about how the sawmill in the village of Pokola in the Republic of Congo began, and how it became a community with hospitals and schools.”
Jose Aguilar, Vanessa Banerman, Debbie Smith and Kiry Laufer, all with Inter Continental Hardwoods, Inc. Laufer is a sales representative and cooked the food for the firm’s recent luncheon.
With a choice destination of many places in the world, Odzala chose to come to America where he and his wife visited ICH in Currie, N.C. The staff at ICH welcomed the couple with a cookout at their hardwood concentration yard, and sales representative Kiry Laufer cooked steak, chicken, sausage, cole slaw and green beans. After their visit to ICH, the couple visited DLH Nordisk Inc. in Greensboro, N.C. for a couple of days before spending a few days in New York City, N.Y., then they headed back home to the Congo.
Inter-Continental Hardwoods is a member of the International Wood Products Assoc. (IWPA), National Hardwood Lumber Association (NHLA), National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) and International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO).
For more information about Inter-Continental Hardwoods and its products and services visit www.ichardwoods.com or contact 910- 283-9960.
Jeff Richards, the owner and President of Winston Machinery & Equipment Co., Lynn, Ala.; Tony Triolo, operations manager for Inter-Continental Hardwoods, Inc.; and James “Gabe” Thomas, Thomas Industrial Controls, Haleyville, Ala.
Shannon Tomassi, Tracey O’Connell, Beth Murphy and Terri Schutte, Inter-Continental Hardwoods Inc., standing in front of some of the dry kilns.
This is a view of a couple of the company’s T-Sheds.
This is a partial view of the new stacker and lumber handling equipment made by Winston Machinery & Equipment located in Lynn, Ala. (228) 832-1899 / fax: (228) 831-1149