Many container repair outlets in recent years resorted to buying plywood for container repairs which was manufactured with Apitong (also called Keruing) ply on the face only. This Apitong plywood for container repairs was commonly manufactured in China. The Chinese plywood was priced in the $85-100 per sheet range and thus cheaper. The old saying that “you get what you pay for” applies. First, this product is generally lighter in weight (126-136 lbs/sheet). Its lighter weight comes from the types of wood that makes up the inner plys. Whereas the outer plys are generally the abrasive resistant and strong Apitong, the inner plys, as many as 21, were mixed medium density hardwoods. The use of mixed medium density hardwoods creates two potential risks. First, these hardwoods are simply not as strong as an all-Apitong plywood. Second, and more important, adhesive bonding with mixed species of wood is difficult. There is a much greater risk that these veneers may delaminate in the difficult application of a container floor.
OHC has long promoted all Apitong plywood. This 19 ply Keruing is treated to Australia Quarantine Requirements (AQR). What this means is that this Apitong plywood meets the international manufacturing specifications for ocean containers required by the Original Equipment Manufacturers. OHC’s all-Apitong plywood is heavier (167 lbs/sheet), stronger and less likely to suffer any delamination. At $108-120 per sheet, it is more expensive, but you will truly get what you pay for with this superior product.
Another concern or risk when sourcing container plywood is the duty cost. The United States Custom and Border Patrol (CBP) recently confirmed that container flooring, whether Chinese or all-Keruing, must be declared under the proper Harmonized Tariff Code (HTC). According to the official ruling by CBP’s National Commodity Specialist Division, the correct HTC is 4412.31.5165. Under this HTC, a duty of 8% is currently assessed. Given the wide range in pricing in recent years for such plywood, it is likely that some importers may not declare the appropriate HTC code for its plywood to avoid paying the legal duty. Sourcing such plywood creates a risk of fines, imprisonment, and seizure under the revised Lacey Act and other federal regulations. Be careful if a good deal sounds like TOO good of a deal.
The OHC team has imported plywood and lumber products for almost 50 years. We value our business reputation for importing the best products in ethical and legal manners. With the new criminal sanctions available under the Lacey Act, we also value our freedom! We will make the proper declarations under the HTC system so you can rest assured that OHC plywood is imported with the proper duties declared and paid.
The below picture shows that it can be difficult to distinguish the high quality all-Keruing container plywood from the Keruing-face, mixed species brand.