Cabinet for Economic Development
HOW MUCH WOOD COULD A SAWMILL SELL IF A SAWMILL WOULD SEEK HELP?
Monroe County sawmill finds success in international markets
FRANKFORT, KY (May 13, 2009) – With the help of the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, a Monroe County sawmill has seen an explosion in exports of its hardwood lumber to China. Exports are under way to Mexico as well.
Roy Anderson Lumber has enjoyed a 250 percent increase in export orders to China since joining forces with the Cabinet in 2007.
The company has exported its products successfully for 25 years to the European market, but had achieved only limited success in exporting its products to China and Mexico. The company’s executive team wanted to take the next step, so they contacted the Cabinet’s International Trade Division for assistance. In May 2007, Roy Anderson Lumber was one of two Kentucky sawmills chosen by the Cabinet’s Kentucky China Trade Center to host a hardwoods delegation from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce.
“The company called us, saying they could use a little help breaking into international markets, and we were eager to get them pointed in the right direction,” said Mark Peachey, director of the Cabinet’s International Trade Division. “I think companies are surprised at the degree to which we’ll go to help them land new business.”
Shortly thereafter, the lumber company was able to negotiate the sale of three shipping containers full of Kentucky hardwood to a Chinese buyer. (These are the large intermodal containers seen in commerce the world over – used on ships, semi trucks, and trains.) The company sold another 115 container loads to China throughout 2007.
The Kentucky China Trade Center, as well as the Cabinet’s International Trade Division in Frankfort, continued locating new sales leads in China. In March 2008, the Cabinet provided space in the Kentucky booth at the 2008 Interzum Wood Trade Show in Guangzhou, China, introducing Roy Anderson Lumber and other Kentucky sawmills to several new buyers.
“Our China exports have really taken off over the last two years,” said Lowery Anderson, co-owner of Roy Anderson Lumber. “The assistance provided by the Cabinet’s International Trade Division and Kentucky China Trade Center has been invaluable in our efforts to tap into new international markets.”
The export surge continued through 2008, with Roy Anderson Lumber selling more than 150 new container loads of hardwood to Chinese buyers. The efforts continue today, with Roy Anderson just returning from another trip to China in April.
Things have gone so well in China, in fact, that attention now turns to Mexico. The company made two trips to Mexico in 2008, taking advantage of research and “Blue Key” services (matchmaking and business appointments) offered by the Cabinet’s Kentucky Agricultural and Commercial Trade Office in Mexico.
Roy Anderson met with existing and new potential clients identified by the trade office. The staff provided a customized itinerary for the two trips, language and logistical help, assistance with contract negotiations and follow-up quotes to new clients. When one of the company’s shipments had difficulty clearing customs, the staff intervened and followed the shipment until it was safely delivered to the client.
Established in 1950, Roy Anderson Lumber currently operates sawmills in both Monroe and Lincoln counties and employs a total of approximately 160 people. For more information about the company visit www.ralumber.com.
Roy Anderson isn’t alone. Thanks in part to the free services provided by the International Trade Division, Kentucky companies are quickly becoming competitive players in the global marketplace. Exports to foreign countries contributed over $19.2 billion to Kentucky's economy in 2007, ranking the state 8th nationally in exports per capita. This business activity supports 54,000 direct jobs in the Commonwealth.
The International Trade Division provides assistance to companies both large and small, including export counseling, trade show, trade mission and catalogue show assistance, trade leads and information concerning licensing and customs. In addition, the Cabinet's foreign trade offices in Guadalajara, Mexico and Beijing, China offer a variety of services to Kentucky exporters.
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The Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development is the primary state agency in Kentucky responsible for creating new jobs and new investment in the state. New business investment in Kentucky in 2008 totaled over $1.8 billion with the creation of more than 11,500 new jobs. Information on available development sites, workforce training, incentive programs, community profiles, small business development and other resources is available at www.ThinkKentucky.com.