Governor McAuliffe Announces New Exports for Virginia Lumber Companies
~Two major United Kingdom lumber buyers now purchasing from several Virginia producers~
LONDON – Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced new Virginia lumber export sales to the United Kingdom (UK) during a trade and marketing mission to Europe. The sales were struck between several Virginia forest products companies and two UK importers, both introduced to Virginia wood products by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) Office of International Marketing. The Virginia companies met James Latham Ltd., one of the oldest distributors of timber and panel products in the UK, and Brooks Bros Ltd., a major UK wood products importer, during separate visits to Virginia, hosted by VDACS.
“We are thrilled to expand Virginia’s lumber exports and further strengthen the relationship we have built between Lathams and Virginia lumber suppliers,” said Governor McAuliffe speaking in London about the partnership with Lathams. “I was honored to meet the company’s leadership for the first time during my April 2016 mission to Europe, and to host them in Virginia a few months later for their first trip to the commonwealth. Growing Virginia exports has been a hallmark of my administration and I am excited to see our efforts paying off and contributing to our new Virginia economy.”
Lathams’ June visit to meet with Virginia suppliers was part of an effort, started in 2016 by VDACS, to develop a Virginia yellow poplar program with a UK importer. The company now regularly sources the product from several Virginia companies, including Robert S. Coleman Lumber Company in Culpeper, Lathams newest supplier, and one of the companies on the June visit to Virginia. As a result of VDACS's efforts and the strong relationship formed with Lathams, the company has now begun sourcing an additional product from Virginia, white oak hardwood lumber. Since visiting Virginia for the first time in June 2016, Lathams has purchased over $2 million of Virginia lumber.
Brooks Bros visited Virginia in September, when VDACS hosted them at the Virginia Forest Products Association annual convention where they met with several Virginia lumber suppliers. As a result of the trip, the company has now begun purchasing lumber from some of the Virginia companies they were introduced to during the visit.
“Exports are vital for our forest products industry,” said Basil Gooden, Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry. “We are committed to assisting our companies with sales in all international markets, and are especially proud to see Virginia products succeeding in a mature and competitive market like the UK. We’re thankful for the international resources VDACS has been given, allowing them to have boots on the ground in important overseas markets and the ability to meet and introduce our exporters to reliable sales channels around the world.”
Regarding their new sales to Lathams, Jaimie Coleman of Robert S. Coleman Lumber said, “We appreciate the introduction to Latham by VDACS staff and international representatives and we look forward to doing more business with them.”
“We know Virginia produces quality lumber, so we were happy to be invited to meet with some new suppliers at the forest products convention,” says Lloyd Chaplin, Buyer for Brooks Bros Ltd., who met with Meherrin River Forest Products at the annual convention of the Virginia Forest Products Association this past September. “Meherrin River is a relatively new company and new exporter, so we’re excited to help it grow its export portfolio.”
Virginia agricultural and forestry exports to the United Kingdomwere valued at $60.6 million in the first half of 2017. Forest products, including wood pellets, lumber, logs and further processed products, accounted for more than 70 percent of the total value of exports. Lumber sales to the U.K. were up 13 percent over the same period last year, from $5.3 to $5.8 million. The UK is Virginia’s third largest lumber customer behind China and Vietnam.