The Malaysian Wood Expo is Back!
As urban landscapes continue to evolve, high-rise buildings have become integral to accommodating the growing population and fulfilling their diverse needs. These architectural marvels, reaching unprecedented heights, require meticulous planning and innovativThe second Malaysian Wood Expo (MWE) was held from 18 to 20 June 2023 at the Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre (MITEC). Jointly organised by the Malaysian Timber Council (MTC) and Pablo Publishing Pte Ltd, MWE was officiated by YB Datuk Hajah Siti Aminah Aching, Deputy Minister of Plantation and Commodities, at an opening ceremony attended by many dignitaries, important guests and industry leaders.
Bringing together more industry shapers, technology experts and key decision makers representing the timber trade and industry, MWE 2023 boasted 124 exhibitors from 24 countries, and occupied twice the space of the previous show in 2019.
Besides the exhibition, which also showcased numerous state-of-the-art automated wood processing machinery from various manufacturers, MWE provided attendees and buyers with opportunities for business matching and networking, as well as a wealth of information on current topics from experts and leaders in the industry through the pocket talks.
A TOP INDUSTRY IN MALAYSIA
Malaysia is among the world’s biggest exporters of timber and timber products, exporting to over 170 countries. Our products are highly regarded in the market due to supply reliability and quality as well as the availability of sustainable and certified timber products.
The timber industry is an important contributor to the country’s economy, and is the third largest sector in the commodities industry after palm oil and rubber. In 2022, Malaysian timber export value stood at USD5.74 billion (RM25.21 billion), which represented 12.16% of the total contribution from the commodities sector, 1.62% of the country’s total merchandise export, and contributed 1.67% of the country’s GDP.
Malaysia is well-known for our wide range of timber products, such as sawntimber, panel products (plywood, medium density fibreboard (MDF), particleboard, laminated veneer lumber (LVL), and chipboard), mouldings, builders’ joinery & carpentry products (BJC) (decking, wooden flooring, doors, staircases, laminated scantlings, window frames and picture frames), as well as wooden furniture (indoor, office, and outdoor). In fact, you will be happy to know that in terms of global export ranking, Malaysia is fifth for plywood and also wooden frames, sixth for wooden furniture, and ninth for mouldings.
The top four markets for Malaysian timber and timber products in 2022 are USA, Japan, China and Singapore, with export value of USD1.77 bil (RM7.72 bil), USD857.22 mil (RM3.76 bil), USD600.29 mil (RM2.65 bil), and USD311.52 mil (RM1.37 bil), respectively.
ADDRESSING CHALLENGES IN THE INDUSTRY
The availability of raw materials is becoming an increasing challenge for the timber industry. Wood is a finite resource that needs to be carefully managed to ensure a steady supply for the long term.
1) Raw Material Availability
To address the issue of raw material availability, MTC has introduced the Import Assistance Programme (IAP), which facilitates local timber manufacturers in importing raw materials by defraying part of the freight and handling charges. As of 15 May 2023, the programme has facilitated the importation of 1,013,900.6417 m³ of timber raw materials since 2004.
In 2020, MTC introduced the Purchase Assistance for Alternative Raw Materials from domestic sources under the IAP. This programme aims to promote the utilisation of alternative materials, such as oil palm trunk, coconut, kenaf, bamboo, etc., from domestic sources for the manufacturing of value-added products.
2) Sustainable Forest Management (SFM)
With growing climate change and environmental degradation, Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) is a pressing global concern. Besides that, Malaysian exporters need to comply with the timber regulations of the countries they are exporting to, such as the Lacey Act of USA and the European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR) of Europe.
At the Earth Summit in 1992, Malaysia made a pledge to keep at least 50% of its land as forest and tree cover. According to the Forestry Department, Malaysia has fulfilled the pledge with forest cover of 54.6% in 2020 and is still continuously striving to maintain it.
Forestry is under the jurisdiction of the state governments. Therefore, each state has the power and freedom to enact laws and manage forestry policies in their respective states. So far, all states have been pratising SFM and have been complying except for one state (which will hopefully be in full compliance soon). A leading example is Selangor State, which has imposed a logging moratorium for 25 years since 2009 to disallow logging activities in the permanent forest reserve.
In addition, under the Malaysian Budget 2022, the aim is to plant 20 million trees a year as part of the 100 million Tree Planting Campaign, in order to compensate for the tree cover loss over the past few decades.¹
3) Community Farming
The project aims to supplement the supply of timber material by planting fast-growing timber species such as Eucalyptus pellita and Paraserianthes falcataria (Batai) among local communities, with a buyback programme in collaboration with the Malaysian Panel-Products Manufacturers’ Association (MPMA) to address the shortage of raw material. This is a win-win arrangement, as the project will improve the livelihood of the local community by providing them with an additional source of income. Besides that, it will encourage the afforestation of idle land. The planting sites are in Pokok Sena, Kedah, Kuantan, Pahang, and Batu Kikir and Gemas, Negeri Sembilan. MTC provides the saplings and absorbs other ancillary charges.
4) Automation and Digitalisation
MTC’s Automation and Digitalisation Programme facilitates local timber manufacturers in Peninsular Malaysia in their adoption of automation and digitalisation which is the key to reducing the industry’s dependency on unskilled foreign labour and to steer the industry towards achieving the Industrial Revolution 4.0 and data-driven culture.
In addition, MTC’s Automation Technology Acquisition (ATA) incentivises manufacturers in the timber industry for the purchase of new machinery to upgrade their manufacturing processes, for the expansion and diversification of the company’s manufacturing capacity as well as process line automation. Besides that, MTC’s Business Digitalisation (BD) Programme encourages the adoption of digital technology with the purchase of software or implementing system integration to assist industry players in various stages of their digital transformation journey and to build a data-driven culture in their businesses. Lastly, the Factory Transformation Programme (FTP) aims to improve manufacturing efficiencies, and optimising resources in terms of raw material and labour utilisation. The programme consists of Green 5S, Quality Tools and Techniques, Lean Management and Innovation Management.
We look forward to an even bigger and better MWE in 2024, with more exhibitors and informative talks by experts and leaders!