A group of 9 representatives from the furniture industry in Egypt visited New England the week of August 28 to learn first-hand about Eastern White Pine. Sponsored by the USDA’s Cochran Fellowship Program, the overall mission of this activity is to bring potential buyers from what is considered emerging markets for U.S. products to educate the visitors on wood products manufactured in various regions of the country. NELMA’s goal is to make sure the northeast is a stop on the circuit for these groups to provide an in-depth understanding of the forest resource and the manufacturing/grading process as we showcase the variety of products available from our membership.
The visit began with an exchange of information at the NELMA HQ Office, as each visitor described their company and current use and source of wood materials. This was followed with a presentation by Jeff Easterling, NELMA President, that covered all aspects of the northeastern softwood species including grades, machining qualities, and its versatility in end-use applications. Two days of mill tours to Eastern White Pine lumber manufacturers provided a unique experience for each of the participants as it was the first lumber manufacturing operations they had ever seen. Being able to touch and feel the finished, graded product was the highlight of the education process. The week’s tour ended with a visit to the Harvard School Forest to see various forest management practices along with a timber harvesting operation taking place nearby. Coming from a treeless country, the vast forests of New England were nearly overwhelming to our guests from Egypt.
“Learning that there are more than 200 furniture manufacturing companies located in Egypt and that their extensive market reach extends to most of the Mediterranean and Middle East as a product hub was impressive”, according to Jeff Easterling. “While Egypt may not be a market for our members next week, next month, or even next year, these individuals are now very familiar with our species as a potential lumber resource when economics permit in the future.”
Members that would like to receive contact information for the individuals that participated from Egypt, please contact the Association for a complete listing. NELMA would like to extend its sincere thank you to Robbins Lumber Company, Hancock Lumber Company, and the Harvard School Forest for graciously hosting the group during their visit to New England.