Japan: Trends in dried lumber

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There is growing demand for dried wood for construction since dried wood has clear strength performance with less cracking and curving after applied in building. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, lumber shipment in 2013 was 10,100,000 cbms, 8.6% more than 2012.

Building materials and engineering works construction materials, which takes 80% of lumber shipment, increased by more than 10%. Meantime, that for furniture, fittings, crating and boxing dropped little from previous year.

In this, shipment of kiln dried lumber was 2,984,000 cbms, 8.7% more and the share of KD lumber was 29.54% from 29.49% in 2012. Back in 2002, share of kiln dried lumber was only 12.4% so in last ten years, it grew by 17.1 points to almost 30%. The largest reason is high housing starts in 2013, 10.6% more than 2012 so total wood demand increased.

Also the government set a target of achieving 50% of wood self- sufficiency rate by 2020 and large house builders promoted using domestic species and preferred using kiln dried lumber. Another topic of wood drying is drying large size lumber, laminated lumber and CLT since there are increasing number of large wooden buildings.

Also with increasing number of biomass power generation facilities in relation to FIT system, drying wood chip quickly and economically becomes important issue from now on. By type of energy source for drying, steam is the most popular then gas burning. Hot water and electric follow. Size of chamber is becoming larger as more drying demand for lamina and stud is increasing.

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