Thursday, August 8, 2019
South Central Ivory Coast is
the home of Sustainable Teak Exports (STE).
The company is owned and
operated by Hasan Mshawrab, a remarkable young Ivorian of Lebanese descent.
Hasan Mshawrab, owner of Sustainable Teak Exports and visionary sawmiller from the Ivory Coast.
Hasan initially only
exported round logs from Ivory Coast without adding any value to the logs. The Ivorian
government’s restrictions on log exports forced a rethink of his business model.
The restrictions dried up
his logs supplies and he also realised that he could be earning more money if
he added value to the logs that were exported in raw form until then.
“I realised that the Ivory
Coast, like many other African countries, was losing money with log exports. If
I could produce sawn timber and then manufacture furniture from it, I could
dictate the price I want, instead of the low prices that I got for logs.
“The Ivory Coast’s economy
would also improve; manufacturing can start and job opportunities could be
created that young Ivorian’s like me could use to improve our lives and create
a better future for our families and others.
“I also know that people
will not protect forests if they have no value – if I could build a successful
business using Ivorian timber, others like me will treasure forests more and
protect them,” Hasan says.
business with Wood-Mizer
The First step to realizing
his dream of an integrated timber production company saw Hasan investing in sawmilling
and blade maintenance equipment from Wood-Mizer.
STE now has four Wood-Mizer LX100
sawmills that are used to produce sawn timber from the sustainably harvested
teak logs that are sourced from the Ivory Coast’s Timber Management Agency
STE’s two-head Wood-Mizer
HR500 resaw and EG300 Edger cut the sideboards that were formerly thrown away
into valuable timber. “We realised that we wasted a lot of timber, so with our
recovery equipment from Wood-Mizer, we now have more timber that we can sell,”
Sawn timber from the sawmill
and bespoke furniture items from STE’s manufacturing arm are now exported to markets
in Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Kitchen, bedroom items and doors supply
local markets that formally relied on expensive imports.
Bespoke solid teak furniture from STE waiting for surface treatment before being exported. The finished pieces earn far higher profits than logs that are exported.
Sawn teak from sustainably managed plantations and that are exported or used in Ivory Coast, have improved STE’s margins considerably and also allows for downstream manufacturing to start.
Saw maintenance equipment
from Wood-Mizer allows STE to re-sharpen and set their own bandsaw blades that
are used on the sawmills.
“Our saw sharpening division
is very important,” Hasan says. “We no longer have to rely on outside suppliers
that are not reliable for sharpening blades. We now control the quality of the
process and the costs.”
With Wood-Mizer’s saw maintenance equipment, STE always has sharp blades. A ready supply of sharp blades improves productivity, cut quality and volumes.
STE’s showroom facilities in
the Ivory Coast’s capital Abidjan, adds further value to STE’s operations with bespoke
furniture items sold directly to customers from across Ivory Coast. The
facility also doubles as STE’s design and admin headquarters.
Africa has tremendous
potential to harness it timber assets for growth.
Cheap log exports only
generate a fraction of the potential value that the continent’s timber resources
hold, and that can fuel future economic growth. There is also little or no incentive
to protect a resource that is not considered valuable.
STE now has 70 employees. It creates employment for a better life for more people.
Sawmillers like Hasan Mshawrab
represents a new generation of sawmillers from Africa.
They recognise that Africa’s
timber resources are hopelessly undervalued. They also understand the link between
timber, economic growth and the sustainable management of the resource.
Welcome to the Newsroom for Wood-Mizer Africa!
Here you will discover how Wood-Mizer sawmill owners worldwide are actively growing local economies by processing wood more sustainably and profitably.
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