Sabah, a state of Malaysia also known as the major source of hardwood logs to India, has announced to impose logs export ban with immediate effect. Although state says that the ban is temporary to ensure there is enough to meet domestic needs first. Shafie Apdal, newly sworn Chief Minister in the state, is reportedly in process of instructing the the state Forestry Department to immediately impose a ban on the export of logs from Sabah, however it is a temporary measure designed to safeguard the resources in Sabah. Speaking to reporters after being briefed by the Sabah Foundation, he said the ban would be in force until further notice. “The purpose of this ban is to ensure that logging activities are in direction of benefiting the state with better management ofresource wealth before it is exported,” he said.
Indian hardwood market is certainly going to feel the pinch because Sabah was a major source of hardwood logs. The Indian saw mills are heavily dependent upon hardwood logs from Malaysian region requirement. Market sources say that the prices of hardwoods such as Meranti, Padauk etc prices have already gone up in India. The market feedbacks are hinting at a price jump of around 15% with instant impact. It is noted that Indian building and real estate sector consume huge quantity of Meranti timber, which is mainly sourced from Malaysia but after logs import ban it is difficult for sawmills to supply Meranti. Although, market sources said that this step would lead to increase the shipment of sawn timber import in India, that is increasing with every passing years.
Mr. Shanti Lal, President of Kandla Timber Association said, “The decision of Sabah state government to impose logs export ban, would definite affect our sawmill business, but we have lots of other options available for hardwood logs procurement. We are importing huge quantity of hardwood logs from Surinam, Solomon, P&G, Belgium, etc.” If you see the timber import data of last two month at Kandla, it is stable even so many challenges for us, hence there are many places in world for procurement of logs, and we would see much challenging in coming times,” he further added. Mr. Navnit Gajjar, Vice President of KTA said, “the prices of hardwood timber has strengthened in India due to many reasons such as strong dollar prices, increasing capital investment, lowering output from saw mills because labor shortage etc.” ‘The effect of Sabah logs export ban is also one of the factors of price rise,’ he added.