Wood and wood based products are an important part of our day to day life. In India, three main types of wood based panels viz., plywood including blockboards and flushdoors, fibreboards and particleboards are manufactured. Wood products include: cases, boxes, hard wood flooring, joinery, wood casks, treated rough wood, pre-fabricated wooden buildings, wood carvings, door frames and other niche items. Most wood in India is used for the manufacture of doors, window frames, wall panels, moldings and furniture. Domestic manufacturing is highly fragmented and unorganized with much of the production, particularly for doors, windows and interiors still done by individual carpenters on site. The appreciation of the need for rational utilization of wood as a raw material has resulted in the increased consumption of these products everywhere.
The share of American woods in the Indian import market is relatively small, but has grown from 0.4 percent to almost 1 percent ($12.8 million). India’s supplies of domestic wood are very limited. Because of this shortage, the import market for raw and semi-processed wood is expected to increase with demand and construction activity over the next few years.
The upcoming Commonwealth Games in 2010 will also support growth of the housing and construction sectors in India. Imports constitute 20 percent of total annual consumption of wood in India, while plantations and forestry contribute 58 and 22 percent respectively.
Logs account for the largest portion (67 percent) of all wood and wood products imported into India due to relatively lower import tariffs and a local preference for unprocessed wood. Imports of logs have increased by 72 percent to $1.14 billion. India imports logs mostly from Malaysia, Myanmar, Ghana and New Zealand due to a freight advantage and relatively lower prices.
The furniture market is the second largest wood processing segment after logs, making India a fast emerging market for high-end, value-added imported products.
The manufacture of pre-fabricated doors and windows is relatively new and the current market is growing at 10% per annum. The total annual market for furniture in India is estimated to be US$ 1.25 billion about 90% of which is for wooden products. The branded (higher quality) wooden furniture industry is growing at 15% annually.
Imports of fiber and particle board, veneer and sawn lumber have also increased over the last decade, indicating positive demand in the housing, construction, household products, furniture and packaging sectors.
Panel and plywood products are main wood products in India. Product categories include veneer sheets, particle board (composite wood core with plastic laminate finish), panel products (fiber board), plywood made from both hard and softwood (veneered panels and laminated woods), and medium density fiber board. Indian particle board and plywood industry have large producers who accounts for 15% of the total production, producing some 30 million sqm of plywood and blockboards. The Indian market for particle board and plywood is estimated in value terms, at over Rs 17billion. Of the total market, particle board accounts for over 30% of the market with the rest over 70% accounted by plywood segments. Western India has emerged as the leader in the particle board segment. A relatively new product in the industry is medium density fibre board (MDF board).Two large companies are major players in this field, one by the Birla group, Mangalam Timber and another by Nuchem Plastics.
In the Plywood segment, Greenply Industries with a market share of 4.1% leads the pack and is closely followed by Century Plywood (3.4%),Kitply Industries(3.2%) and Worthy Plywood(2.3%).Other important players in the segment, though with a very small market share, include Sarda Plywood Industries(1.8%) and Uniply Industries(1.4%).
As in many emerging markets, India is experiencing a rapid phase of urbanization with a change in lifestyles, a growing demand for engineered wood panel products, and a high infrastructure, industry sources expect positive growth for wood productssuch as plywood, particleboard, medium density fiberboard, oriented-strand board and laminated veneer lumber in near future.