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Bamboo Flooring for Shipping Containers

19th February 2014

Bamboo has the ability to be used as an alternative fiber in a range of manufacturing industries, as a substitute for both hardwoods and softwoods.

The latest report by the Container Owner's Association (COA) reveals that there has been a significant increase in the use of bamboo as a material for container flooring. These floors are providing an alternative to plywood currently manufactured from tropical hardwoods, which often comes from illegal deforestation.

The report states that "Bamboo has emerged ahead of other alternative flooring systems, such as plastic/composite and larch/birch hybrid,as the most popular, in terms of availability and price - and it is the only alternative to tropical hardwood plywood being produced in any significant volume."

Over the past 24 months EcoPlanet Bamboo has undertaken conversations with various manufacturers, as certain COA members are going a step further, and requesting this alternative material to meet rigid certification standards, in particular Forest Stewardship Council certification. EcoPlanet Bamboo's Nicaraguan plantations are FSC certified.

COA's report provides volume figures regarding the current usage of bamboo: "It is estimated that, in 2013, a total of 720,000TEU (out of a total container production of 2,400,000TEU) were fitted with bamboo floors, representing 30 percent of the year’s total dry container production. This shows an increase on the previous year, when some 650,000TEU of dry containers were fitted with bamboo floors."

As well as being far more productive in terms of per hectare yields, the use of sustainably grown bamboo as a substitute fiber can reduce pressure on the world's remaining natural forests, as well as address issues of environmental concern including global climate change.

The full COA report on bamboo's increasing use as container flooring can be found here.

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