I've been following WOODWEB for the past 8 years. I've got 10 acres in the southeast ready to start my small lumber business. From your experience, what size sawmill and kiln is the best to purchase for 40 mbf/month of white oak, ash and walnut? The kiln has to reach 180F for phyto purpose.
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From Professor Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
Do you want to make your own energy (steam or hot water boiler) or do you want to purchase electricity? For softwoods, maybe you want to use direct fired with gas or wood waste. The hardware choice is an energy choice, as all the good systems will achieve the same kiln conditions (temperature, humidity and air flow). Certainly, softwood (2x4, 2x6, etc.) and hardwood kilns are different. Please tell me more about the 180 degrees that you need, as I did not know it was that hot for phyto.
Pallets, however, must have the ISPM-15 stamp, and to get that you have to use a pallet constructed of lumber that has been dried and heated to a core temperature of 56° C which is 133° F ~. You can buy pallets with ISPM-15 stamps and you can also get a stamp for pallets you make, and that isn't as hard as you might imagine. A USDA agent at DFW was a goldmine of information for me when I first researched how to export my product. I eventually found a freight company right there at DFW that I now use that does all the necessary paperwork for me.
I quickly found out that for me, it is much easier to ship (all of it air freight) my lumber in crates that I construct myself from plywood. I build 12' x 4' x 2' crates using 1 1/8" sturdi-floor plywood. The corner cleats and even crate skids are made of doubled 1 1/8" so that no softwoods are used. This allows the shipment of my product without the necessity of getting a phyto stamp.
If you'll be shipping container loads, I'd suggest using a freight company like mine that has an in-house import/export agent that can tell you what your requirements are for your species and destination, and that will do all the paperwork for you as part of the service. It will save you a lot of headaches.
This stuff can be found in various TARIC and EU TARIFF classification documentation, and wood packaging requirement docs, etc. among other places.
Still, you can bypass all of that lengthy research by using the aforementioned resources. There is rarely a need to pay big bucks for an import/export specialist these days if you already have a buyer. The import/export freight market is highly competitive and between the USDA (lots of free help from them, especially if you get a good agent) and the in-house agents that most reputable freight companies provide, you should be able to get all the professional help you need.