The Dubai Wood Show was held on 4-6 April this year. The event is the biggest trade fair for timber products in the Middle East and North Africa region, although it also attracts visitors from India, Pakistan and East Africa. The MENA region is a key market for Swedish sawmill exports and Swedish Wood attended the trade fair for the third time, together with representatives from Swedish sawmills.
Sweden is the largest exporter of pine and spruce to the MENA region. Russia is in second place and Finland third. In 2015, Sweden exported 3.2 million cubic metres of pine and spruce to the MENA region, worth more than SEK 5.5 billion. That is around 20 percent of all the conifer wood imported to the region in 2015.
“Players in the MENA region see Sweden as an important import market for sawn conifer wood products. They choose to work with Swedish sawmills because they deliver high-quality sawn timber, are reliable trading partners and offer advanced logistical solutions,” reports Charlotte Dedye Apelgren, Director of Interior and Design at Swedish Wood.
Most of the Swedish sawmill companies that export to the region were represented on Swedish Wood’s stand at the Dubai Wood Show. The stand hosted a talk on the quality, moisture content and dimensions of Swedish sawn timber, and on sustainable Swedish forestry. Environmental issues are attracting growing attention in the United Arab Emirates, as confirmed by a visit to the Swedish Wood stand from the Climate and Environment Minister, His Excellency Dr. Thani Ahmed Al Zeyoudi.
Another core message on the Swedish Wood stand was the versatility of the material, which is used for everything from high-rise buildings to pine lamps, and also for furniture, joinery, pallets and formwork in construction.
“The main export to the MENA region is pine for furniture, windows, doors and other joinery, but we are also beginning to see a certain amount of interest in wooden construction, particularly using glulam,” relates Charlotte Dedye Apelgren.
With its 3.2 million cubic metres of imports, the MENA region is by far the most important export market for Swedish sawmills after Europe. Sales to the region have risen significantly over the years and Swedish sawmills see the region continuing as a strategic market for the future.
Historically, Iran has also been an established market for Swedish sawmill exports. The relaxing of the trade embargo now opens up new opportunities for collaboration.
“We’re very positive about this and, on behalf of our member companies, we’ve launched a study into trading patterns, sawn timber use and logistics in Iran,” says Mikael Eliasson, Director of Swedish Wood.
Swedish Wood appeared at the Dubai Wood Show with the following Swedish companies:
In 2015, Sweden exported 3.2 million cubic metres of conifer wood to the MENA region. Within the region, Egypt is the largest importer of Swedish wood at over 1.3 million cubic metres, followed by Algeria at 600,000 cubic metres, Morocco at 450,000 cubic metres and Saudi Arabia at 405,000 cubic metres.