LONDON – The United Kingdom (U.K.) was one of the top markets for exported Virginia hardwood in 2015, and four Virginia lumber companies recently furthered that trend by striking sales agreements with James Latham PLC, one of the U.K.'s oldest and largest hardwood lumber importers and distributors. The deal was announced July 15 during a trade mission to Israel and the U.K. by Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe.
“We are excited to have found new sources for high quality wood products, particularly Virginia's top quality white oak and poplar and look forward to making additional purchases in the future," said Latham's managing director James White.
The lumber companies all operate active sawmills in Virginia and represent a wide geographic area of the state:
- Blue Ridge Lumber, with log yards in Highland County and Tappahannock, mills in Fishersville and Covington, dry kilns in Fishersville and Goshen, and a woodworking operation in Stillwater, Virginia, has annual production of over 35 million board feet of lumber and ships an average of 1,500 containers of wood products overseas annually.
- Turman Lumber is part of The Turman Group of Virginia, which employs more than 500 people in the forest products industry in the Southwest region of Virginia. Turman Lumber manufactures all grades of lumber to include furniture grade, hardwood flooring, kiln-dried lumber, veneer logs, and pallet stock, and ships to dozens of countries worldwide.
- Virginia-Carolina is a family-owned lumber mill that has grown since its founding in 1991 to employ almost 100 people in Brunswick County.
- W.R. Deacon and Sons is a family-owned and operated lumber mill established in 1977 in Rockbridge County, and is an example of a small Virginia business actively marketing and selling its products in international markets.
"We have built an excellent relationship with Latham over the past year after meeting with their team in London and inviting them to tour our sawmills in Virginia," said McAuliffe. "After such successful negotiations, I am honored to be back in London to announce this new export relationship. Connecting Virginia producers of high quality agriculture and forestry products with international buyers is key to our continuing efforts to build the new Virginia economy and this deal puts us another step closer to making Virginia the East Coast capital for agriculture and forestry product exports.”
Agricultural and forestry exports from Virginia were valued at $3.19 billion in 2015, the second highest value ever. Virginia's agriculture and forestry exports to the U.K. reached a new high in 2015, at $133 million of which about $110 were wood products exports, according to the governor's office. Lumber exports from Virginia to the U.K. were valued at $11.6 million in 2015. The United Kingdom was Virginia's sixth largest customer in 2015.
Originally founded in 1757, Lathams is now managed by 9th generation members of the Latham family and offers a wide variety of wood products to clients throughout the U.K.
Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.