Nov 09, 2009. /Lesprom Network/. The Malaysian Timber Council (MTC) plans to extensively promote the glued-laminated (glulam) timber industry in Malaysia to help local timber manufacturers move up the value chain, as The Star reported.
MTC timber industries development division director Wong Tuck Meng said glulam timber was a relatively new product in South-East Asia but widely used as a major building component in Europe, the United States, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
Wong said that a working trip to Australia last year had ignited MTC’s interest in promoting the glulam timber industry in Malaysia. “We have set up an interest group on glulam timber, which will involve stakeholders in the local timber industry.”
“This will include timber manufacturers, government agencies like MTC, Malaysian Timber Industry Board, Forest Research Institute of Malaysia as well as universities and other professional bodies.” he said.
Wong believes that it is time to have a closer look at glulam timber as part of efforts to diversify the local timber industry.
“MTC has obtained positive feedback on the potential of glulam timber industry in Malaysia based on discussions with architects and timber manufacturers nationwide,” he said, adding that glulam timber was suitable for use in the building of structures such as stadiums, bridges, hospitals and schools.
Glulam timber products also hold tremendous export potential.
“There is no reason why Malaysia cannot make it big for glulam overseas given Australia’s success in Dubai while New Zealand exports to Hong Kong,” Wong noted. “For exports, we should not aim at traditional markets like Europe but focus on countries that do not have manufacturing facilities.”
Wong said the initial plan would be to create demand for the domestic market but “it is still too early to project local (demand),” adding that Malaysia had ample timber resources to produce glulam timber products.
He revealed that “a company from Johor has bought over a second-hand factory in Australia and is transferring the operation to Malaysia. The production, which is for the domestic market is slated for next month.” The company will be the first to produce glulam timber.