See the latest Update at the bottom of this post
The newly elected Myanmar government announced a ban on all logging activities. This includes Teak but also several other species. Our customers will likely remember several of our articles announcing a log export ban, increased export restrictions, and dramatic reductions in felling quotas since the turnover of power to the newly elected government.
At this point there is not much information, and while export has not been banned, it is unwise to assume that any felled logs already in the supply chain will actually be available. With an economy based so heavily around logging, it is uncertain who will actually be extracting the felled logs and processing them for export. This situation reminds many of us here at J. Gibson McIlvain of previous species bans in other parts of the world where logs in the system were left on the ground when there was no one left to do the work. But again, it is too early to tell what will happen.
As far as our customers are concerned, those of you using high quality and specialty sizes in Teak already know about the shrinking supply. It is bound to become even tighter now. If you have projects in queue that require Teak, it is imperative you call us now to update pricing since increases are inevitable.
We have already been working with some boat builders who are transitioning to other species, and we welcome any conversations about options for your projects.
Those of you who don’t require the weather resistance of Teak but like the look, Afrormosia has long been a great Teak alternative, and we have a substantial supply in stock right now, so contact us to learn more about this great option.
Alaskan Yellow Cedar is another excellent option that many of our customers are using for exterior projects and boat building. Certainly, it is a different look than Teak, but the weather resistant properties are there along with excellent availability in sizes.
In the end, it is too early to make any certain statements about how the logging ban will unfold and what possible additional regulations will result. In fact there are even further rumors that some of this news is a result of a miscommunication within the Myanmar government. It’s too early to tell what the final situation will be once the dust settles. Rest assured, we are closely monitoring the situation, and our buying team is already scheduled to visit our suppliers in Myanmar in the near future. Please feel free to contact us with any questions about Teak or what other products we may help you transition to for your future products.
UPDATE: May 23, 2016
Following disbelief and outcry from local industry, the Myanmar government convened a summit on May 14th and 15th for all stakeholders. The goal was to talk about the possible impact on the economy and the number of jobs possibly influenced by an outright ban. After several days of meetings, it has been decided that in fact there will be a log extraction ban for the length of a year. The idea here is to put an emphasis on sustainable levels and to continually review those levels each year. For now there is no Teak logging going on in Myanmar.