DLH Nordisk, Inc, one of the largest importers of tropical hardwood lumber in the world, uses a 73,000-square-foot warehouse in Statesboro as its United States distribution hub.
Located in the rear of the Brannen tobacco warehouse complex at the corner of Packinghouse Road and Highway 301 North, Nordisk's warehouse is home to lumber products milled from South America to Africa. Stocking lumber with exotic names such as Afrormosia, Tauari, Ipe, and Khaya, Nordisk ships its product to suppliers across America who sell it primarily for decking, flooring and even in casket production.
Company spokesman, Joey Jewell, said the port of Savannah is the company's main shipping destination for U.S. bound product.
"The port is very easy to work with," Jewell said. "One of the most important reasons was the availability of trucking. There is a lot of available trucking in the Savannah area which is something that we are dependent upon."
DLH Nordisk, Inc. is part of the DLH Group (Dalhoff, Larsen, & Horneman A/S), a Danish-owned company with locations in more than 30 countries on 5 continents, employing more than 4,500 people. Founded in 1908, the DLH Group trades in lumber and wood products all over the world, both through subsidiaries and through partners.
Even though their U.S. warehousing operation is in Statesboro, their corporate offices are in Greensboro, N.C.
"My understanding is that our office was originally placed in North Carolina because of the furniture manufacturing industry," Jewell said. "We sold a lot of product to that industry, but as you know a lot of furniture manufacturing is done overseas now."
Jewell said demand for tropical hardwoods has moved from the furniture industry to the flooring and decking industries.
"These woods are very dense and very durable and their color is very, very pretty,” Jewell said. “People are looking for something a little different to put in their homes today."
Bob Reese is senior vice president of sales for Southern Wood Floors in Augusta. Reese said the demand for tropical hardwood products is increasing.
"People like the exotic hardwood flooring for the different look that it creates," Reese said. "It is denser and much harder than traditional oak. It is a 'cleaner' wood in appearance. As you might imagine, it is a more expensive than the traditional oak flooring."
Dock Supply in Midway, Ga., sells a significant amount of DLH Nordisk docking product to its customers.
"DLH Nordisk has a great product and our customers have been very satisfied," said Mindi Ansley, president of Dock Supply. "Their wood is harder and stronger than most wood used in deck construction and it has a naturally beautiful color that continues to deepen. It is not treated at all and comes with an excellent warranty. It is an environmentally responsible alternative in our opinion. However, it is more expensive. It cost about 40 percent more than the lumber traditionally used in dock construction."
Because the DLH Group imports lumber from South America and Africa, areas in which much has been reported regarding deforestation, it has a Forest and Environmental Department within the company and supports legislative measures to combat illegal wood.
"Our long-term goal is to trade and produce wood products which originate from sustainable managed forests," Jewell said. "To do that, we have to know the origin of all the wood that we are buying. We have a very strong environmental policy stating our commitments and are working very hard to achieve our long-term goal."
Nordisk employee, Maurice Spagnola, divides his time between the Savannah port and the warehousing operation in Statesboro.
"I have to check each shipment of wood that comes in to make sure it is up to standard," Spagnola said. "I have seen demand for the product change. It used to be that we shipped in a tremendous amount of rough lumber and that was our main product. Now we ship in a tremendous amount of decking and flooring."
"These woods are a wonderful product, very dense and hard," he said. "Trust me, it is hard for me to drive any sort of a nail into any of it by hand."
Spagnola said the warehouse in Statesboro is open five days a week and has 10 employees checking in wood, and preparing it to ship out."
"Our warehouse is very busy," he said. "There are times that I wish we had more space. If you have been in there, then you know it is filled to capacity."To learn more about DLH Nordisk, you can go to their Web site – www.dlhusa.com. To learn more about their parent company, the DLH Group, you can find their Web site at www.dlh-group.com.