For prime decking species like Ipe, Teak, and Cumaru, it’s just about time for shipping to ensue. Most exotic lumber species originate in the Southern hemisphere, where they have an extensive rainy season which dictates lumber availability and timing. As their rainy season and our summer come to a close, trees are sawn into lumber and seasoning ensues. For the 4-5 months of late autumn and winter, our year’s supply of exotic lumber pours into our lumberyards at J. Gibson McIlvain Company. Just as we’re getting ready for an influx of next year’s stock, all “non-essential” government employees are taking a forced furlough. The timing of this political upheaval occurring during the lumber industry’s shipping season could potentially make a difference in the timing and pricing of lumber orders throughout 2014.
The ports into which our shipments arrive are, thankfully, not run by the federal government; however, customs and other regulatory organizations are. As containers arrive in port and await inspections for CITES, FSC, Phyto, and other certifications, we’re expecting major delays between those ports and lumber yards across the nation. Time is money, too, and we’ll accrue fees every day a vessel sits in port, unable to unload cargo. These “demurrage” fees can really add up, because the delay is keeping that ship from doing more business in the way of transporting more cargo. Sometimes port storage can allow us to circumvent demurrage fees, but other times the storage area rental fees are higher than demurrage would be. As you might expect, these fees will translate into increased cost to lumber suppliers and, by extension, to the customer, as well.
As much as the bottle-necking at customs would be no surprise, it hasn’t happened yet. Currently, the government shutdown has done little to affect imported lumber. We’re welcoming exotic hardwoods like Mahogany, Utile, Sapele, and Ipe into our yard on a daily basis, along with hardwood plywood and marine-grade plywood. Of course, domestic hardwoods are also kept in stock. As we rely on last year’s customer demands to guide us in stocking in-demand species, we have plenty of lumber on the water or in port, on its way to our yard.
Like many other industries, the lumber industry relies heavily on availability and timing of resources, as well as on governmental cooperation. As we go to great lengths to ensure that our sources comply with all legal expectations, we’re keeping our fingers crossed that we can keep up with customer demands without having to pay exorbitant fees. J. Gibson McIlvain continues to source the highest quality lumber that’s been legally and responsibly harvested, both from within the US and around the globe. Just like we’ve been doing for over 200 years.
J. Gibson McIlvain Company
Since 1798, when Hugh McIlvain established a lumber business near Philadelphia, the McIlvain family has been immersed in the premium import and domestic lumber industry. With its headquarters located just outside of Baltimore, the J. Gibson McIlvain Company (www.mcilvain.com) is one of the largest U.S. importers of exotic woods.
As an active supporter of sustainable lumber practices, the J. Gibson McIlvain Company has provided fine lumber for notable projects throughout the world, including the White House, Capitol building, Supreme Court, and the Smithsonian museums.
Learn more about the lumber industry
- The complexities of importing African hardwoods
- Uncertainty about the future of genuine Mahogany
- NuCedar PVC Siding, Shingles & Trim
Image credits: Top by Elnur/Fotolia; Middle by Vladimir Mucibabic/Fotolia; Bottom by Vince Gayman/Fotolia.