Market demand for Tasmanian blackwood

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I am getting enquiries from buyers in Asian markets looking to buy blackwood from Tasmanian farmers. Here’s a recent example:

 

Dear Dr. Gordon Bradbury

How are you? I hope you all are very good!

This is Paul ███ from ███ Furniture that is a furniture wholesaler in Victoria, And in Guangdong China have own furniture factory. Our factory produces leather sofas, bed and wooden furniture. 

Recently, we knew that a Chinese company import 20 containers of blackwood logs from Tasmania, we are very interested in this product, I would like to know can you supply the blackwood to us?

Or if you can provide us the supplier for our future’s potential cooperation, that will be grateful!

Looking forward response for you soon

 

Best Regards

Paul ███  

Director

 

I’m happy to put this enquiry up on my website to help improve forest market transparency.

The question is what exactly do these buyers want, what volumes, and at what price?

The next question is what farm blackwood resource is available to meet the demand, and how do we mobilise more of the Tasmanian farm blackwood resource? The farm blackwood resource in Tasmania is generally of average to poor quality because Tasmanian farmers have mostly never considered themselves tree growers, so the existing blackwood is unmanaged.

And finally can market demand for premium Tasmanian blackwood progress to the point where Tasmanian farmers regard growing premium blackwood as a commercial profitable opportunity and begin planting?

Given the Tasmanian political and forest industry context, I suspect this change in the farming community will take more than just normal market forces. It will also require market leadership and support!

I’m happy to pass these enquiries on to any log traders or sawmillers out there, but my objective is to build the blackwood industry. This means using market demand and price to encourage farmers to establish blackwood plantations and actively manage their remnant blackwood forest.

Is anyone up for the challenge?

Please contact me if you want details.

Can premium blackwood timber once again become an iconic quality Tasmanian product?

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12 responses to “Market demand for Tasmanian blackwood

  1. Why not ask this enquirer what grade he wants, piece size etc and post these details without identifying the source of query? It’s useful market information.

  2. I get inquiry’s like this 2 to 3 times a week Gordon and they want on average between 20 to 30 – 20 foot containers per month and offer about $60.00 per C/M so you know what my answer is. No thanks.

  3. On another note Gordon’ if logs were exported in the quantity required by the Chinese market wee would be out of blackwood before you know it and there we be no logs available for the music instrument market’ I am totally against exporting blackwood log’s.

    • Thanks Bob,
      I think export markets are great, provided they come from a range of buyers and offer good prices.

      $60 per cubic metre FOB is NOT a good price even for pine let alone blackwood!

      The New Zealand forest industry absolutely depends upon log exports.

      If farmers grow them, why can’t they sell them to the highest bidder?

      Would the Asian demand be the same if the price was $500 per cubic metre FOB? That’s where we need to get too, or better..

      Cheers

      Gordon

  4. All rosewoods are now on CITES II due to the Chinese market buying all the rosewood that they could get their hands on. Maybe it is blackwood’s turn now?

    • Hi Chris,

      Not if it’s farm grown and managed blackwood. If the price is good it should encourage farmers to plant more blackwood.

      The rosewood situation is very different – plundering third world native forest. If rosewood was farm grown it would not be endangered.

      Cheers.

  5. malcolm mackenzie

    We also get enquiry here in NZ for blackwood logs to supply Asian markets. When I indicate the price I get for sawn timber from pruned logs they melt away. They may be of use as a market for unpruned or small logs but $60/m3 FOB wouldn’t cover harvesting and freight. They need to offer a realistic price!!

  6. Here’s a reply from another enquirer looking for blackwood logs for Asian markets. It provides some detail as to the economics of supplying Chinese markets. Obviously China is still awash with cheap unsustainable rainforest timber. Blackwood growers will have to wait until the rainforest timbers become less available.

    “Thanks Gordon,

    Appreciate your time for explain all these.
    We had done a bit research recently, it seems NZ have a reasonable plantation supply however price still beyond what Asian market can accept. Majority of our end customers are Furniture factories, they would have their own drying and milling facility. So log has the best potential. However, growers or milling companies prefer to sale as timber, the relatively high asking timber price(NZ$1500~3000 per cbm) will keep most buyers out.

    Assuming NZ$ 1500 /cbm for timber ex mill, that equals to NZ$750 per log cbm(roughly 50% recovery rate for estimation purpose). Or App RMB3375 per cbm. That means landed cost @ Chinese port will be around RMB4500~5000 per cbm, that is not considering any of our margin. Chinese Market whole sale rate for hardwood are from RMB 2800~4800 at the moment. So we are forced to look for alternative hardwood species at the moment.

    Please keep in contact, sharing information should benefit us both.”

    Thanks to John for providing these details. Maybe one day Asian markets will support profitable, sustainable blackwood growers.

    Any comments??

  7. As you can see Gordon’ the Chinese market will not pay the price and before any plantation blackwood is available on a large scale you will be long gone’ the Chinese want cheap timber. as you were saying they plunder third world native forests’ logs should be processed here and not exported cheaply. Cheers Bob

    • Not just the Chinese! Everyone wants cheap timber. That’s why we have plundered the worlds forests to extinction. And as Stu rightly points out, plundering is as much a Tasmanian tradition as anyone elses.

      As for local processing that will/should largely come down to how competitive the market is and what processors are prepared to pay growers.

      As the Minister for Resources says we harvest most of our best timber and sell it domestically way below market price anyway. That’s the reason our forest industry is in such trouble. Too subsidized and no longer competitive.

      If export markets pay a better price then who is to say growers shouldn’t get top dollar?

      We need to export goods. That’s the way world trade works. We export plenty of un-value added resources all the time, so why not logs?

      What I still want to know is what is the current going price for good blackwood logs?

      And at what price, market and industry support will farmers begin to think of growing blackwood as a commercial opportunity?

      Can anyone tell me?

  8. Asian buyers wanting container loads of logs on a monthly basis has been happening for nearly 20 years from what I’ve heard. Like Bob, I’d much prefer to see value adding here, with sawing, drying, machining and selling the finished product such that the grower gets a good return and people are employed along the way. I know of exporters who are making good money from exporting blackwood (with tight grades on aspects such as colour), macrocarpa and other species. However, the resource will largely run out in the not to distant future.

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