At the end of March 2014 the Myanmar government implemented a total ban on all unprocessed log exports including Teak. This move was combined with a stated intention to significantly reduce future logging.

This move has created significant press and discussion in the marine industry. Especially among Superyacht builders who rely on supplies of the highest quality Teak. Select quality quarter sawn Teak has always been difficult to source. The concern is that there will be large price increases or, worse, that supplies could dry up completely.

This move has often been misreported as a total ban on all teak exports. The ban applies only to raw logs. All Teak will now have to be milled in Myanmar and exported in processed form.

Our view is that reducing the cut and making Teak harvesting even more sustainable is good for the Superyacht industry, not bad. Ensuring some future supplies for those who truly appreciate the value of premium Teak. Old growth Teak is only available from Myanmar and the premium grades only from select areas. If not managed sustainably, there could be none available for anyone.

“Green” credentials are becoming increasingly important. Teak has often been an easy if sometimes uninformed target for criticism. Surely it will now gain an improved image, especially on high profile projects like superyachts.

Premium quality quarter sawn teak should be valued for the truly rare material it is. It should be regarded as a precious resource, not a bulk commodity. The market forces of supply and demand will set the price accordingly.

Nothing compares to the luxurious look and feel underfoot of a premium quality teak deck on a superyacht. Even at increased prices, the cost of the actual teak is a small fraction of the price of a superyacht. It is even greatly less than the cost of labour and materials required to install it. The cost of the teak is therefore relatively insignificant in the context of a superyacht. The critical concern is availability and consistent quality.

The ban on raw log exports simply brings Myanmar into line with most other countries. The stated aim is to support local manufacturing and create jobs. This move should be applauded as Myanmar emerges from decades of military rule and tackles poverty.

NZM Timber is intentionally a relatively low volume supplier specializing in premium quality teak from selected growing areas. Our production is already based in Myanmar and we have many years of experience operating here. We can continue to supply the highest quality teak required by our superyacht customers. Because we are a direct supplier, we can also minimize the cost.

Lower quality teak will always be available from extensive Teak plantations  in Myanmar and many other countries worldwide. Sustainably managing the remaining old growth Teak forests in Myanmar will ensure the continued availability of premium quality Teak for superyachts. Priced appropriately!

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