Im­ported tim­ber com­ple­ments Aus­tralian-grown tim­ber range

Australasian Timber - - IMPORTED TIMBER -

BRITTON TIM­BERS In­ter­na­tional, the in­ter­na­tional arm of Britton Tim­bers Aus­tralia which has a mill in north­west Tas­ma­nia and dis­tri­bu­tion cen­tres in Mel­bourne, Syd­ney and Bris­bane, is one of Aus­tralia’s largest im­porters of spe­cialty tim­bers.

Di­rec­tor Do­minic McNeil says Britton stocks more than 50 species from North and South Amer­ica, Europe, Africa, the Asi­aPa­cific re­gion and Aus­tralia, He says de­mand is strong and grow­ing for sus­tain­ably har­vested tim­ber from cer­ti­fied for­est. “We im­port tim­ber to com­ple­ment our range of Aus­tralian tim­bers and our PEFC cer­ti­fied Tas­ma­nian species such as Tas­ma­nian Oak, Myr­tle and Black­wood.

“Some im­ported tim­bers of­fer a grain struc­ture and colour pal­ette that is not avail­able lo­cally. Aus­tralian tim­bers are gen­er­ally quar­ter-sawn and im­ported tim­bers are not, so that’s an ob­vi­ous point of dif­fer­ence.

“Amer­i­can hard­woods such as Amer­i­can White Oak are sought-af­ter by ar­chi­tects, spec­i­fiers and devel­op­ers sim­ply as an al­ter­na­tive.

“Peo­ple look­ing for the French Oak look, for ex­am­ple, can ob­tain that from Amer­i­can White Oak at a very rea­son­able price,” he says.

Do­minic says sales of Asian tim­bers are also on the rise.

“Im­port­ing from Asia is a core part of our busi­ness and given its prox­im­ity, prices are very com­pet­i­tive. In some in­stances, Asian tim­bers can also be avail­able in very long lengths and that suits a va­ri­ety of ap­pli­ca­tions. Aus­tralian tim­bers are gen­er­ally not avail­able in su­per-long lengths.’

On the ques­tion of en­sur­ing the prove­nance and cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of its im­ports Do­minic says Britton Tim­bers takes a cau­tious ap­proach.

“The im­por­tance of sus­tain­abil­ity and proper har­vest­ing prac­tices can­not be over­stated. It is vi­tal in to­day’s mar­ket to be able to re­as­sure cus­tomers that they are buy­ing tim­ber har­vested un­der strictly en­forced guide­lines and with in­ter­na­tional cer­ti­fi­ca­tion.

“That’s why we per­son­ally visit the ar­eas from which our im­ports orig­i­nate. If you’re in­ter­ested in longevity of sup­ply and on-go­ing cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion, you can­not be too care­ful. You must do your due dili­gence.”

As most im­porters would know, the rules sur­round­ing tim­ber im­por­ta­tion have been strength­ened as of Novem­ber 30 last year, and the onus put squarely on the im­porter to make sure of the le­gal­ity of the im­ported tim­ber, so Britton’s ap­proach may well be fol­lowed by other im­porters. "The new laws are a sig­nif­i­cant step in the right di­rec­tion. Es­tab­lish­ing the bona fides of tim­ber can only be a good thing. Ac­cred­i­ta­tion sys­tems such as PEFC and FSC are do­ing their best to en­sure the sus­tain­abil­ity of tim­ber pro­duc­tion around the world and at the im­por­ta­tion end we must also take re­spon­si­bil­ity.”

Do­minic says sat­is­fy­ing de­mand for im­ported spe­cialty tim­bers means mak­ing a sig­nif­i­cant in­vest­ment.

“We carry large stocks to en­sure we can meet de­mand for our tim­bers with a min­i­mum of de­lay and that makes us­ing im­ported tim­bers a vi­able and at­trac­tive op­tion for our cus­tomers.”

Do­minic says Britton Tim­bers’ strong links to the Amer­i­can Hard­wood Ex­port Coun­cil have also been ad­van­ta­geous.

"We were the first non US-based com­pany to be in­vited to join the AHEC ranks. This was a re­flec­tion of the work we'd done to bring the ad­van­tages of Amer­i­can tim­bers to the Aus­tralian mar­ket. We’ve col­lab­o­rated closely with AHEC at trade shows and the like to mar­ket Amer­i­can hard­woods. The re­la­tion­ship has been valu­able and has helped us pro­vide a pro­fes­sional level of ser­vice and ad­vice to cus­tomers.”

And what of the fu­ture?

Do­minic be­lieves it’s very bright. “You only have to look at some of the ma­jor Euro­pean build­ing and de­vel­op­ment projects to see that the strength, at­trac­tive­ness and en­vi­ron­men­tal ad­van­tages of wood are much sought-af­ter. There has been a turn­around in think­ing and wood - both in its nat­u­ral state and as com­po­nent of en­gi­neered prod­ucts - has made a huge come­back. And so it should. Wood is the fu­ture.”

AHEC Brit­tonTim­bers pre­sen­ta­tion.

Amer­i­can Black Wal­nut Chris­tian Cole Fur­ni­ture (quar­ter curve).

Amer­i­can White Ash.

Amer­i­can Black Wal­nut kitchen of the year JAG.

Mitchel­ton Win­ery.

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