Plywood products are getting challenged from different alternative materials now. In economical segment, there is cut throat fight with MDF, Particle Boards, Aluminium Partition Panel etc where as in premium segment WPC, Fibre Cement Boards, Steel etc that have been emerging as an alternate of plywood.
There has been new material entering in plywood application areas slowly where few are getting noticed. The boat making industry which uses pure high quality marine grade plywood is now also trying Fibre cement materials as replacement. Recent reports from Kerala found that Houseboat makers are now using Fibre Cement boards instead of plywood in certain areas. A Houseboats owner says, “Initially, we were apprehensive of the use of cement boards in houseboats, but it has proved to be successful and now, there are many boats in Kerala that use fibre cement boards.”
Another boats owner says that most of Boat makers use plywood but the quality of plywood is being detoriated and they are compelled to look for options. The genuine water proof material is not available or if it is from a reliable brand then its prices are too high hence we are bound to look for substitute materials. “The Plywood is getting costly day by day, whereas Fibre Cement Boards are economical than plywood, and its fire retardant and water resistant properties as well”, says a houseboats owner based at Alleppey, Kerala.
It is noted that houseboats are very important tourism business in Alleppy/Alapuzza area in Kerala, where more than 1500 big, medium and small houseboats are in operation. More than 200 small and big companies are engaged in Houseboats building, which use huge quantity of plywood for repair, renovation and new boats making.