Identifying Impact Factors on Successful Exporting of the United States Hardwood Industries to Mexico, Asia, and Europe

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Virginia Tech

Transportation and competitiveness practices of hardwood lumber exporters and other firms were studied and compared to determine the most important factors associated with exporting hardwood products. It was found that exporters differed significantly in their transportation methods, marketing activities, and production profiles from those other hardwood lumber firms. They also were significantly larger than expected in their total production and employment. As the forest products business continues to become more global, an analysis of the importance of these factors can be used how firms can begin exporting, or increase sales in international markets.

It was found that certain elements of a sawmill's marketing strategy are a major determinant to the likelihood of its being an exporter. Results from logistic regression methods showed that transportation factors such as using intermodal transportation and inland port facilities and competitiveness factors such as species selection, marketing practices, and using government export assistance programs increased the probability of a firm's high involvement in international markets.

Finally, data from exporting hardwood sawmills to Mexico, Europe, and Asia were analyzed to determine what makes successful exporting to these markets. Factors including export distribution methods, relationship with export distribution partner, competitiveness, transportation, and export assistance were analyzed. Such information might be useful for government agencies that wish to promote business commitment to sawmills throughout the United States for the following international markets. Hardwood sawmills should be encouraged by state officials to plan more aggressively to enter the Mexico market. Efforts are needed from U.S. trade associations to better identify the Mexican market segments, sources of market demand, and credit opportunities for US sawmills.

Transportation Factors, Distribution Channel Management, Hardwood Lumber, Export Performance, Competitiveness Factors