Japanese demand underpinned Douglas fir’s new status as the most shipped US species overseas, according to industry newsletter Random Lengths International.

Douglas fir overtook southern pine in 2009 for the first time since 1998, thanks to a quadrupling of volumes over the last five years, while southern pine declined in the last three years.

Last year Douglas fir shipments to Japan increased by 16%, with the country now taking 67% of all US overseas shipments of the species.

Exports to the Philippines and China also rose, while southern pine’s largest offshore market – the Dominican Republic – saw a 32% reverse for the species.

Southern pine shipments to Europe and North Africa also fell.