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The British are discovering the versatility of pressure-treated Southern Pine lumber for building outdoors. AMSO promotional activities in the United Kingdom focus on outdoor living applications.
Global Markets Expand For Southern Pine

Kenner, Louisiana—For 2011, exports of Southern Pine lumber are up nearly 30 percent when compared with 2010. The Southern Forest Products Association (SFPA), based in suburban New Orleans, has conducted worldwide promotions of Southern Pine products for more than twenty years. Supported with funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service, SFPA is actively exploring opportunities for the specification and use of Southern Pine materials around the globe.

Under the banner of American Softwoods, or AMSO, SFPA partners with the Softwood Export Council and APA – the Engineered Wood Association to sponsor trade show displays, trade missions, educational seminars and publications. These activities promote both treated and untreated softwood material to importers and distributors, with an emphasis on green building and sustainability.

New Global Website

SFPA’s Richard Kleiner (center) leads an industry trade mission to China, offering members and company representatives the opportunity to network with importers and distributors.
One objective SFPA met this year was the launch of a business-to-business export web portal. SouthernPineGlobal.com is the importer’s link to Southern Pine exports, featuring an Importer Purchase Inquiry Service, a Product Locator and a handy list of SFPA member exporters. All content on this site is provided in nine languages.

“This new site has improved our members’ connection to new and prospective international customers,” says Richard Kleiner, SFPA’s director of international market development. “Inquiries for sources of supply have doubled year-to-date over 2010,” he adds.

Opportunities Across Asia

American Softwoods activities across the Greater China region – including Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and the Philippines – have been promoting Southern Pine products to key target audiences.

In late June, some 300 people representing 172 organizations from more than 20 countries attended “Forests, Markets, Policy & Practice” in Shanghai. This event aimed to offer business solutions to help companies become leaders in improving forest management and trade practices in Asia Pacific. Understanding the legality of sustainable forest management practices is increasingly becoming a necessary and stringent requirement for access to key markets. This conference was hosted by Center for International Forest Product Trade of State Forestry Administration of China (CINFT, SFA) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC), with the support from allied groups. The event was held at a time when national policies of countries along the supply chain are converging to support responsible forest products trade globally.

SFPA’s European marketing activities include displays at major international trade fairs. The UK office is extending activities to reach North Africa, India and the Middle East.
In a related development, China’s Ministry of Finance recently announced it would continue to subsidize tree planting through 2011 to support development of the country's forestry initiatives. Forestry farmers, workers and cooperative organizations will receive subsidies encouraging them to plant more trees. In addition, funding will be made available for forest products marketing, field technical assistance and inspection services.

In June, American Softwoods participated in the Shanghai International Landscape Show. During this three-day exhibition, more than 200 importers, architects and landscape designers looked over samples of American wood products for building outdoors. “China’s love affair with treated Southern Pine for outdoor landscape applications continues,” Kleiner reported.

A major development in China’s market for treated Southern Pine is the soaring popularity of wooden roller coasters. China’s leading theme park developer, the OCT group, notes that its “Fireball” coaster remains the most popular ride at its Shanghai park. In the last year, OCT has contracted two more wooden coasters. The “Mountain Flyer”, designed by Great Coasters International of Sunbury, Pennsylvania, was built on the side of a large mountain in Shenzhen province. Now under construction is the $9 million coaster in Wuhan, Hubei province. It will be the first racing wooden roller coaster in Asia, and the track length will be twice that of the “Fireball”. This project alone will require some 1.2 million board feet or 2,900 cubic meters of treated lumber. Completion is scheduled to coincide with the park’s planned opening late this year. Great Coasters also has projects to build the first wooden roller coasters in Taiwan and the Philippines. New publications support Southern Pine promotions throughout Asia. The American Softwoods office in Shanghai is using Chinese editions of SFPA’s booklets Pressure- Treated Southern Pine and Southern Pine Lumber to introduce Southern Pine to importers and specifiers. Free PDF down-loads are available from www.SouthernPineGlobal.com.

Europe Shows Promise

SFPA’s European marketing, with offices consolidated in the United Kingdom, continues promotion of all products with an emphasis on outdoor living. The UK office is now extending activities to reach North Africa, India and the Middle East.

AMSO efforts are being extended into Central and South America. The Caribbean Basin region is a popular destination for treated Southern Pine’s use in coastal resorts.
Sales of American softwoods across Europe are on the increase and active promotion is underway, particularly in the UK and Italy (the largest European market for Southern Pine). “The perception that the 'Old World' is in terminal decline has been much exaggerated,” notes Charles Trevor, SFPA’s consultant servicing the UK and Europe.

American Softwoods activity in Europe has been particularly active through recent months; participation at Construmat in Barcelona and Interzum in Cologne were notable highlights. Construmat is the largest construction show in Spain and although housing starts are at a historic low, remodeling activity is relatively strong. Interzum gave tangible expression to the German economic miracle. At a time when much of Europe is in or close to recession, Germany's economy is powering ahead and in Spain, opportunities exist for American exporters in the remodeling market.

Timber Expo, the U.K. Trade Fair dedicated exclusively to timber products, was held September 27-28 in Coventry. “This was an excellent opportunity for first-time exporters to gain exposure to an anglophone market,” reports Charles. During this event, American Softwoods sponsored the prestigious Wood Awards, which attracted more than 300 entries and represents the best of British design and conservation. The newly designed American Softwoods exhibit debuted at Timber Expo, too. This display will help project a whole new image for American Softwoods and will be used at shows throughout Europe and the Middle East.

New publications support European promotions. A new decking brochure was launched at Timber Expo, a fact sheet promoting Southern Yellow Pine as the “sustainable building solution” and a booklet on specialty patterns are now part of the European lumber library. Printed copies are being distributed at trade shows. Other inquiries are referred to www.SouthernPineGlobal.com, for free PDF downloads.

“European customers trust Southern Pine as a sustainable and legally harvested product,” Kleiner states. “They also rely on its quality and ready availability,” he notes.

Latin American Markets

The strength and durability of treated Southern Pine convinced park developers to specify it for three giant roller coasters this year.
South of the border, SFPA is extending its market reach further into Central and South America.

“AMSO cooperators conduct many events in Mexico, where Southern Pine demand remains strong. A trade event calendar can be found at www.sfpa.org under International Activities,” reports Richard Kleiner. “Market development missions to Brazil and Panama are planned in 2012, while customer support and education will remain a key focus in the Caribbean,” he adds. New publications in Spanish are helpful educational tools. A trio of construction guides explains proper wood-frame construction methods for building floors, walls and roofs.

For more information about SFPA’s international activities, contact Richard Kleiner, director of international market development, 504/443-4464, ext. 211, or e-mail rkleiner@sfpa.org

AMSO programs promote Southern Pine lumber products as a renewable, certified product, preferred for its high strength, treatability and quality control.

China builds boardwalks by the mile and impressive outdoor structures using pressure-treated Southern Pine materials.

Exports of Southern Pine lumber are up nearly 30% in 2011, when compared with 2010.

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