Exporter ROM Introducing Southern Yellow Pine As Specialty By Terry Miller
Alexandria, Louisiana—Roy O. Martin Lumber Co. Inc. has been manufacturing lumber since 1923, and since building a sawmill in 1984, the company has continued to grow as an exporter of various species of lumber. Most recently, the company
John Rogalski, vice president of sales and marketing, and Pat Abney, sales manager, market Roy O. Martin Lumber Co.’s products to countries all over the world.
began cutting large Southern Yellow Pine logs, which results in a high output of upper grade Pine lumber for the overseas market.
ROM’s sawmill, located in LeMoyen, Louisiana, is the location where, according to sales manager Pat Abney, sawing the larger logs gives ROM the capability of getting a high percentage of Prime and Better lumber with much of it being 10-inch and wider in width. The company is also capable of accommodating the niche markets.
“The main markets for our production have been doors, window blanks, architectural millwork, stair treads, stringers and some furniture,” Abney said. “Some of our wide, thick stock Pine has gone into Spain, and they prefer not to glue up any parts, so the wide widths are very attractive to them.”
The company’s sapwood items can be used in high-end, appearance-grade applications, like doors and architectural parts.
Abney said that ROM is producing close to half-a-million board feet per month of Pine and the demand for these types of end use products is increasing. He added that ROM has the capability to produce more, and as the market grows, their production will as well.
“With our vast 600,000 acres, we have an abundance of large-diameter Pine logs,” John Rogalski, vice president of sales and marketing for ROM, said. “Here’s a great opportunity to match our sustainable resources that play an integral part of our company with the market demand for our upper grade material.”
ROM offers various other species, including Red Oak, Ash, Cypress, Hackberry, Sweet Gum, Cottonwood, Pecan, Sycamore, Elm and the most recent introduction being Southern Yellow Pine. Abney said that Red Oak makes up over 30 percent of the company’s production. Many of the species are available in different thicknesses, varying from 4/4 to 10/4.
In addition to the hardwood and softwood lumber that the company exports, it has a softwood plywood mill, an oriented strand board mill and a treated utility pole division. ROM is also building an 850-million-foot OSB mill, which is scheduled to open in October 2006. The LeMoyen facility is equipped with two Filer and Stowell headrigs, a Sherman gangsaw, a resaw and an optimization edger.
The ROM facility, located in LeMoyen, Louisiana, produces 1.4 million board feet out of a variety of track kilns and package dry kilns.
“Consistency in thickness is critical, and we have been able to meet the tight specifications required by the overseas markets,” Abney said. “We have met all the standards in Europe. We utilize our higher velocity track kilns for kiln drying of our Pine so that we can control the drying environment.”
He continued that ROM is kiln-drying Pine to an average of around 12 to 14 percent moisture content. The facility produces a high percentage of 14-foot and 16-foot lumber. Abney also said that in order to prevent the lumber from staining, they cut the logs fairly quickly from the time the logs are delivered to the sawmill. Once the lumber is sawn, the stock goes straight to the track kilns. With the size of the Pine logs being larger than usual, it provides ROM an opportunity to manufacture large, grade Pine timbers.
The LeMoyen location has three track kilns, each with a 100,000-board-foot capacity, 16 conventional package dry kilns with varying capacities, ranging from 30,000 board feet to 100,000 board feet. Abney estimated the total capacity between the track kilns and dry kilns to be 1.4 million board feet total.
“We also have a 750,000-board-foot pre-dryer,” he said. “There’s very little lumber that is actually put on our open yard. We have t-sheds for the majority of the lumber, so we try to control the drying environment as much as possible from the time the log is brought in all the way through the kiln drying process.”
Abney said that the proximity of the sawmill to the Port of New Orleans allows ROM to be freight logical for export shipments. ROM ships the majority of export orders out of the New Orleans, Louisiana, Los Angeles / Long Beach, California, and Charleston, South Carolina, ports. This gives customers options so they can save on freight charges.
Another benefit to ROM’s customers is the fact that the company has been exporting overseas for more than 20 years, and the sales and logistics teams are experienced in handling export documentation and logistics. ROM was also the first company to receive the Forest Stewardship Council’s Forest Management Certification in the state of Louisiana, for both the responsible management of their timberlands and chain-of-custody certification at their manufacturing facilities. FSC Certified Pine Lumber has now been added to the product mix along with ROM’s FSC Hardwood Lumber product line.
The company employs more than 1,100 people in Louisiana. Today, Jonathan and Roy Martin run the company, the third generation of Martins to manage the business. Abney, who serves as sales manager, works with the export marketing manager of the company, Stanley Anderson, to market their products all over the world. Marty Neiswender, sawmill manager; Chris Skinner, engineering and quality control manager; and Rob Blankenship, scheduling, inventory and materials handling manager, rounds out the management team at the sawmill.
ROM is one of the largest independently owned lumber companies in the South, and has a land base of approximately 600,000 acres of Southern Pine and hardwoods throughout 30 parishes in Louisiana. For more than 20 years, the company has been exporting wood products. ROM continues to grow the export side of the business, providing customers with the quality products and custom service that meets their needs.