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Canada eyes Indian wood products market

British Columbia, Canada, is aggressively eyeing the Indian wood products industry, with ideas of joint ventures, exports and enhancing overall business synergies.

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.

Edited excerpts:

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.