Our Story and Our Future
We at International WOOD MARKETS Group (IWMG) have been providing you, our subscribers, with leading edge insights on global developments in wood products markets since 1995 “in print” and since 1993 as industry consultants and analysts! We thought it was time to tell our readers more about our company, its team and our skill, as in all our years of publishing, we have never before profiled who we are, what we do and who is involved in our WOOD MARKETS Monthly Report (WMMR).
With 15 years background in forestry and wood products coupled with five years of domestic and international consulting, R.E. Taylor & Associates Ltd. was formed in 1993. Since then, the company has expanded, grown and evolved around the needs and wants of its clients. In 1995, International WOOD Markets Research Inc. was started around the idea of publishing selective market reports to compliment the company’s ongoing consulting projects. We had no idea that years later we would be one of the leading wood products publishers of ground breaking analysis, research and forecasts.
Our consulting business has grown from a strong domestic focus in North America to an evolution in many of the global market hot spots around the world. And where are we going? Well, it will be based on where our consulting activities take us. Here is where we have come from:
R.E. Taylor & Associates Ltd. was one of the few offshore firms to develop a client base in New Zealand in the early 1990s around plantation pine lumber and mouldings. By the mid-1990s, Russell Taylor, President, was firmly established as the leading consulting firm conducting market research for New Zealand firms in export markets including the U.S., Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Europe. Peter Butzelaarjoined the firm in 1995 and has been collecting plantation pine moulding prices and various supply statistics since 1995 and the company remains the only offshore firm today still conducting this type of industry and market research in the world.
With a strong background in radiata pine products and markets, our consultants moved on to Chile and then Brazil and Uruguay to further expand their knowledge, contacts and clients in the plantation pine lumber, moulding and millwork sectors.
One of the firm’s largest projects was in South Africa where rigorous due diligence work was conducted by *Gerry Van Leeuwen for six months on a client’s investment interest in plantation forests, sawmills and plywood mills. With the winning bid, our client retained our firm for an additional six months to develop a production and capital plan, conduct global marketing work and also to assist in recruiting an entire management team.
The firm’s Southern Hemisphere adventures continued onto to Australia where, in 2001, we retained by Hancock Victoria Plantations to secure a major sawmill investor to utilize timber from an expanding plantation pine forest. This was accomplished in 2002 where one of the larger mills in Australia is now up and running.
We continue to conduct various projects for clients throughout the Southern Hemisphere and we also publish two reports that cover this region: Clearwood (Pine) Lumber, Moulding & Millwork Sector is published every year and the Global Lumber Cost Benchmarking Report is published every two years and includes the five major producing regions “down under”.
Ongoing market investigations have been conducted throughout Japan, South Korea and Taiwan since the early 1990s for a variety of clients. Following the currency crisis in 1997, a much lower level of activity has resulted but statistics and industry trends are still accessed on a regular basis by our consultants.
Our consultants moved into Europe starting in 2000 where our initial efforts focused on assessing the rapidly expanding sawmilling and lumber export activities. With European lumber exports doubling each year, we have made multiple trips to Europe each year to continue to keep monitoring the pulse in sawmilling as well as engineered wood, plywood, OSB and some finished products.
We have visited over a hundred sawmills at the larger and medium sized companies in Europe including those in the Sweden, Finland, the Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania), Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic. Results of these trips are compiled every two years into our Global Sawnwood Cost Benchmarking Report.
Russell Taylor is now involved in the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UN-ECE) through its Timber Committee and UNECE/FAO Team of Specialists on Forest Products Markets and Marketing. We are also connected to various European Associations and a variety of technical and market experts and make our conference presentations in Europe each year to industry associations or groups.
Our involvement in Russia has been very timely and strategic. By being fortunate to complete a few small consulting assignments in the Russia Far East during 2000, we have been able to expand our experience and network throughout Russia. With *Gerry Van Leeuwen covering Siberia and the Russian Far East and Russell Taylor exploring Western Russia over the last several years, IWMG has developed a unique insight into the opportunities, constraints and risks of doing business in Russia. These travels and project work led to the publication of our multi-client report, Europe & Russia: Wood Products Industry – Trends & Outlook (2004) and timber and sawmill costs have also been profiled in ourGlobal Sawnwood Cost Benchmarking Reports.
Our ongoing client work has mainly been focused on Siberia where the lowest cost and best quality timber in the world is located. Timber exports and products produced from Siberian red pine have been our main focus in Russia, but this is now expanding into other species for lumber, as well as birch plywood. Project work in European Russia has included assisting companies develop global marketing and operational strategies.
The company has been able to share our extensive industry contacts in Russia with our overseas clients by conducting many industry tours involving representatives from over 50 international companies that have accompanied us to visit forests and mills in Siberia and the Russian Far East.
One element of our last industry tour explored both sides of the booming Russia-China border industry. In another reverse tour, we assisted and participated in bringing a Russian industry and government delegation to the U.S. Pacific Northwest region to visit prospective sawmill customers.
The business prospects around China wood products imports and exports have attracted many in the industry to-date and IWMG is no exception to this rule. After years of activity in China, we now have, on average, one of our consultants in the field in China several times per year. We have our own office in China being operated by our first overseas employee, Jane Guo. An extensive summary of our China knowledge and business is presented in our China Books and the monthly China Bulletin.
The U.S. market remains the cornerstone of our consulting activities and is normally our most active area for market research, industry and segment analysis, and product/market development/assessment. We conduct work for Canadian firms looking to evaluate opportunities in the U.S., for offshore companies assessing the U.S., and in many cases, for U.S. companies looking at U.S. opportunities and/or competitive threats.
We operate an extensive global data base but our U.S. data tends to drive much of the companies business with its clients’ needs. This data base coupled with our extensive industry knowledge has allowed the firm to initiate two landmark publications that have anchored the franchise within the global wood products sector:
We also participate in many Association-sponsored industry conferences as speakers, so we are well known to many companies already.
Our WM Newsletter Team
WOOD MARKETS involves a unique team with specialized skills and experience:
* It is with great sadness and heavy hearts that we advise that our friend and colleague, Gerry Van Leeuwen, passed away on July 3 at the age of 66. Gerry joined WOOD MARKETS in 1998 and was a key part of the growth and success of WOOD MARKETS following his 25-year career in the sawmilling business with Interfor (Vancouver, BC). MORE
What’s Next or Coming?
Our team continues to evaluate new market trends, issues, threats and opportunities. We are currently conducting some preliminary analysis of emerging markets such as Vietnam and India following initial field investigations. If our clients demand it, we will deliver it!