What is the state of timber exporting in South Africa?

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Timber exporting industry in South Africa

South Africa has been involved in timber exporting for many years, and it is no wonder with the government’s focus on growing this sector since the 1930s. Large commercial plantations were started back then. The goal at the time to make the country self-sufficient when it comes to our timber requirements.  

Nowadays South Africa is still well-known for our thriving export industry. While some of our largest exports include minerals, diamonds, corn, fruit and sugar our timber exports also play a significant role in stimulating the country’s economy.  In fact, exports of wood have increased recently. It has grown from 338.63 ZAR million in the December of 2020 to 367 million ZAR in the January of 2021. But just why does this industry continue to grow and thrive? 

It is true that the initial government involvement played a part in setting the local wood export industry up for success. However, that is certainly not the only reason it is still thriving many decades later. As one of South Africa’s leading timber exporters Sabie Poles believes it is the quality of locally produced timber that keeps various buyers coming back for more.  

The weaker rand also makes buying timber in South Africa an attractive option for Eu countries. South Africa’s land policy, agricultural and botanist expertise, and ideal weather conditions set the scene for perfect growing conditions thus delivering extraordinary quality timber. 

Which countries rely on us for wood exports?

South African timber exports are sought after in many countries including our neighbours on the African continent. South African Development Community (SADC) countries are some of our best customers. Countries like Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Mozambique, Swaziland, Botswana, and Angola rely heavily on timber exporters in South Africa for their material. 

Export wood is used for various purposes like agriculture, housing, electrical pylons, communication lines, road signs. It is also used to construct log homes with stunning outdoor areas like decks, verandas, pergolas, and walkways.  Buyers therefore must be confident that they have bought a long-lasting product. A product that can stand up to harsh weather conditions.

We believe that as long as our land and timber policies remain intact these SADC countries will continue relying on us well into the future continually choosing South African suppliers to provide their construction timber.

Yes, We Export Timber To: Europe, Middle East and all the SADC countries

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Why do so many countries choose SA to provide their export timber?

The local forestry industry prides itself on the fact that we have attained one of the highest degrees of forest certification in the world. Approximately 80% of our timber plantations are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council! This certification gives importers the surety that their export wood has been sourced from responsibly managed forests. 

Although in the past not everyone may have cared about sourcing their material from socially and environmentally responsible suppliers nowadays it is becoming more and more important! We live in a world where climate change is a hot topic. Doing business in a more sustainable manner is fast becoming a prerequisite. South African timber manufacturers take this responsibility to heart.

As we mentioned the local timber exporting industry is growing because of the overall quality of our product and we stand by that. We know that our CCA tanalised pressure treated Poles, laths and droppers are ideal for agriculture, building and fencing.  We deliver some of the finest timber in the business! Add to that the efficient service provided by the most well-known timber suppliers and it is clear why the industry is flourishing.

What role does wood export play in the local economy?

The forestry sector is widely considered to be an important provider of jobs within South Africa. According to SA Forestry this sector is credited with providing the most employment opportunities per investment of R1 million! In a country rife with unemployment the wholesale timber business is doing something incredible. 

Many plantations are not situated directly outside larger cities or towns but rather located further afield, which makes this industry instrumental in helping to develop rural SA. Sabie poles and other major stakeholders, together with She is Forestry are involved in various projects assisting the girl child to benefit from plantations close to home.  Some of the projects include planting nuts and vegetables, ferns, etc whilst planting eucalyptus saplings for commercial use.  This is all made possible since timber exporting plays an important role in our country’s GDP, and that it remains a large foreign exchange earner. Should you want to know more about our She is forestry campaign please feel free to WhatsApp Marina on 0716098373

Those vast and impressive forestry plantations located in Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and the Eastern and Western often turn heads just because of their sheer volume. But they become even more impressive when you consider the enormous role, they play in stimulating the local economy. 

Can South Africa compete with other timber exporting countries?

Although we may not feature on the top ten list of leaders in the global wood exporting industry, we are not faring badly at all! China may currently sit at the top of the list, but their largest wood export product is panels. The US, Canada, Indonesia, and various European countries also make the list. But their ranking is based on their high number of lumber, panels and joinery exports. 

So yes, South Africa may not be one of the largest exporters of timber in the world at this stage. In fact, we may never be counted among the top ten timber producers on the global market. However, when you consider our focus on being and remaining, one of the top timber suppliers to SADC countries we are proud of the fact that we are achieving that goal. 

Our role in the African market

There is certainly a lot to be said for being recognised as one of the leading timber exporting countries in Africa. This continent has so much potential because of its natural resources. In recent years we have seen the African economy grow. With that growth came a remarkable rate of urbanisation. Homes and businesses are constantly being constructed in African countries. This means that the demand for construction timber on the continent is hardly likely to decrease.

South African timber manufacturers need to be taken seriously. They have certainly shown the commitment and innovation required to compete with even the most well-known timber exporting countries. They are serious about doing good business. You can see this because so many SA plantations are FSC certified. Now consider the big dent they are making in the country’s unemployment figures. The only conclusion you can make is that this industry is driven and poised to succeed.

Sabie Poles: widely considered one of the most reputable timber exporters in South Africa

Based in Mpumalanga we are passionate about the forestry industry. We are also fully committed to providing our suppliers with a fantastic product as well as personal service. In practice this means that we work closely with every single customer to establish their particular and unique needs. This is followed by a custom profile specifically designed for them. We believe that this is a large contributor to our success.

We also pride ourselves on exporting only top quality CCA tanalised pressure-treated timber products. Naturally, our wood exports meet all international certification standards.  In keeping with our values, we, manufacture products that last for a minimum of 25 years. This provides value for our customers. It also helps to combat the problem of deforestation that we face in our country and all around the world.

Thanks to our efficient personal service we have remained a firm favourite with our suppliers. If you are looking for a new timber exporter based in South Africa, we would be thrilled to carve out some time and discuss your specific needs. We believe that we are uniquely positioned to understand the timber exporting demands of the African market.

The Sabie Poles team is also equipped to handle large orders. That is because we know that demand for our products can be high. Customers often require large quantities of timber, so we always make sure that we stock enough of our high quality timber to satisfy that demand!

At Sabie Poles we are confident in the future of timber exporting in South Africa!

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