In an exclusive interaction with SupportBiz, Michael Loseth, Vice President - Operations, Forestry Innovation Fund, British Columbia, Canada, discussed the potential of the Indian wood products industry and his plans for the Indian market.
What is the potential for collaborations between India and Canada in terms of wood products? Canada has great potential for natural resources; we are globally considered to be the largest supplier of soft wood. The demand for wood products is growing globally. India is also looking out for new sources of wood, and Canada can become a great option for the same. US and China are our two most important markets for exports, and India is one that we would like to aggressively target.
What are the benefits of wood, vis-a-vis traditional building material?
Wood is far more than a traditional building product now. Its adaptability makes it suitable for a wide range of building types, designs, and applications. Possessing the great quality of being renewable, wood improves indoor air quality and energy efficiency of the building. The load strength and span-width capabilities of the latest wood products are quite high. Also, wood has lighter weight as compared to concrete. Considering this, wood is enabling architects to design dramatic vaulted ceilings, long-span bridges and buildings that rise six storeys and higher.
What is the size of the trade between FII and the Indian market?
Although the amount of business which is happening between FII and India, as of now, is small, it is moving in a positive direction. Annual wood consumption in India is growing at the rate of 15 % to 20%. It is very difficult to predict the exact figure of growth in trade with India, we are very sure of registering a great growth in the same.
What are the trends you are witnessing in the Indian wood products market?
Strong growth in consumption and exponential growth of the middle class makes India an attractive market prospect for British Columbia’s forest industry.
Over the past several years, FII and the federal government have funded Canada Wood Group’s initiatives to reduce phyto-sanitary import restrictions in India. These efforts, combined with recent regulatory reforms in India, have opened the market to Canadian softwood exports. As a result, there has been a sharp upswing in shipments of our softwood to India. Although the volume of British Colombia’s wood products export to India is still relatively small, the potential for the same seems sizeable. Recent research identified a number of significant trends that present good growth opportunities for sale of our wood products in India in the long term.
What is the key strategy for your business expansion in the Indian market?
We are in the process of building a long-term, sustainable business plan for the Indian market. In this bid, we would like to work upon spreading awareness and educating the key players. India has great potential for exporting Canadian woods, and it is just a matter of time before people realise this potential.
FII has established an Indian subsidiary company and opened an office in Mumbai to provide on-the-ground assistance to the Canadian wood industry. Over the past year, research has been completed to examine market opportunities, assess the local wood industry, and explore shipping and logistics of moving products to India. We have witnessed a huge potential among small organizations in India, which are dealing in wood products.