Demand for timber and timber products is expected to witness unprecedented growth in the GCC region on account of the booming construction sector, according to a report by Ventures Middle East.
With the total value of GCC building contracts awarded expected to surge to $91.52 billion by the end of this year, the potential for further growth is significant, says the report.
According to the ‘Future Outlook of the Wood Industry in the GGC’ report, growth in the construction market has led to an overall increase in regional wood imports, particularly in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, which have seen phenomenal growth over the last three years.
The construction industry is the Gulf’s biggest consumer of wood, accounting for 70 per cent of the consumption, while the rest is taken up by furniture factories and carpentries, says the report. Growth in the construction market has led to an overall increase in regional wood imports. The report added that Dubai serves as a major trading hub for the entire region comprising the GGC, Iran and East Africa.
The recent Dubai WoodShow 2015 held in Dubai, UAE, reflected the surge in demand for timber and timber products, with German, Italian, Spanish and Chinese machinery suppliers alongside key wood lumber and veneer providers vying for a share in the ample business opportunities offered by the region.
The three-day show held last month (April 14 to 16), which was the biggest since its inception with a 25 per cent increase in size, attracted more than 230 exhibitors and showcased some 500 brands.
Described as the region’s leading and only dedicated business-to-business meeting place for the wood, wood accessories and woodworking machinery industry, the event was held over a larger exhibition space of more than 13,500 sq m at the Dubai World Trade Centre. Manufacturers, traders, and players from related industries visited the exhibition that allowed deal making onsite.
According to Josine Heijmans, exhibition director at Strategic Marketing and Exhibitions, organiser of the Dubai WoodShow 2015, the region’s booming economic sectors, particularly construction, are driving the demand for timber products.
The 10th edition of show attracted international partners and supporters, including Italian woodworking machinery and tools manufacturers’ association (Acimall), the Spanish international association (Afemma), American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC), European Federation of Woodworking Machinery Manufacturers (Eumabois), French Timber Association, Sweden Wood, Chinese association Lunjiao, Malaysian Timber Council, Quebec Wood Export Bureau and Taiwan Woodworking Machinery Association.
AHEC, together with the Hardwood States Export Group (HSEG), hosted its largest ever American Hardwood Pavilion featuring 21 US hardwood lumber and veneer exporters.
Roderick Wiles, AHEC director for Africa, Middle East, South Asia and Oceania, says: “We have seen an 80 per cent growth in the last five years in wood exported to the GCC. The UAE forms the third biggest trading and processing hub for wood exported here.”
Also exhibiting at the show was American Softwoods (AMSO), the promotional partnership formed by three major US softwood trade associations. Amso hosted an American softwoods pavilion at the show with over 15 US softwood lumber exporters.
“American softwoods have been traditionally exported to the Mena (Middle East and North Africa) region. In fact, total exports of US softwood lumber reached a value of $27.45 million in 2014. This represents an overall increase in value of 26 per cent over 2013 and is a reflection of how well the market has accepted our species and products,” says Charles Trevor, consultant to Amso.
AHEC, along with AMSO jointly took up the task of promoting American wood solutions, highlighting both hard- and softwoods in the region at a seminar held to coincide with the Dubai WoodShow.
The ‘Talking Timber’ seminar was held at The Address Dubai Marina, UAE, and organised by Timber Design and Technology Middle East. The industry-focused seminar and networking event was the first of its kind for the timber industry.