Further to recent information regarding India as a potential market for B.C. lumber, a good friend recently returned from a three-week business trip to Delhi. Sohan and I experienced many sticky wickets while playing on the same club together in the B.C. Mainland Cricket League. A leader on the pitch with a deceptive outswinger, Sohan is also a successful entrepreneur in the import/export field. When I caught up with him earlier today, he offered up an interesting summary of what he found in India.
Housing in India is primarily brick and concrete, confirmed Sohan. The use of wood is typically limited to furniture, doors, and windows. He reports that Meranti, a cheaper hardwood species group of genus Shorea trees from Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines, is widely used in the housing industry. “Any houses or apartments I visited, the quality of doors and windows was quite inferior to what we’re accustomed to seeing here in North America,” said Sohan. He suggests the Northern and Eastern regions hold the biggest growth potential for Canadian softwood lumber. “Wood-frame housing is common in these mountainous regions; importers are located in Kashmir, Himachal State, Punjab, Gujarat, Assam, Arunachal State, among other places.”
“I did not hear anything regarding switching to wood in the big cities, so how much lumber is required just for furniture, I am not sure. I saw a few yards in Delhi and all I could see there were unprocessed teak logs. Unfortunately, I did not get a chance to visit the places I mentioned above due to limited time, as they are all different states and involve serious travelling.” With little knowledge of Spruce-Pine-Fir, Sohan concluded that Indian timber traders need to be educated in Canadian softwood lumber. “I did not find any lumber approaching the quality produced in B.C. It’s difficult to see them upgrading because they will have to pay the price too. Having said that, I think lumber export to India needs to be explored much more. The main hub is at a place called Kirti Nagar industrial area in New Delhi, where most lumber importers are situated.”