I quickly want to bring to your notice five awesome reasons why you should not go into Charcoal business as a young exporter. Please, don’t get me wrong; I have not said you should not going into Charcoal export neither have I said Charcoal exportation is a bad business. I have only said there are five awesome reasons you should consider before going into this side of export business. Although, the demand for Nigerian hardwood charcoal is on the increase in most countries of EUROPE and also in recent times, ASIAN countries. In EUROPE alone, the annual demand for hardwood charcoal by the biggest buyers of the product has exceeded well over 3,000,000 metric tons. In container terms, this would mean that they demand more than 200,000 40” high cube container per annum and this is just for the big players alone.
1. It’s Expensive To Start With:
It will shock some of you to know that Charcoal deal cost nothing less than a million naira. Yes, doing a charcoal business will require a million plus else you want to ask as an agent. That is why it’s not a good business for young exporters who had no experience in this business. Remember the first rule of money – protect your capital/investment! That is why I always advice people and young exporters to always start SMALL. Start Small, Think Global and Grow BIG!!!!
2. Loading Issues:
There are lots of unfaithfulness at the point of loading; this most people won’t tell you. There are cases when you are to load 25 tons but the loaders will go ahead and load 17 tons instead. There are also cases of have Charcoal half other particles. These are the things you need to consider before going into Charcoal export business.
This is not a local trade where you can send your wife to beg on your behalf; no deal if it is not to specifications. You must make sure your charcoal met the client specifications. Here are the common specification demanded by buyers of Nigerian hardwood charcoal .
- Fixed Carbon: 75%- 80% minimum
- Moisture: 4%- 7% maximum
- Ash Content: 2%-4% dry maximum
- Hardness: 95% minimum
- Heating/Calorific value: 6800 Kcal/kg
- Volatile Matter: 7% maximum
- Granulation (Sizes): 30mm – 150mm or 30mm – 120mm (BBQ Size)
The quality of the charcoal will depend largely on the quality of wood used in the production process. There could be variations in the quality requirements of the charcoal depending on the specifications of the buyer. Laboratory tests may also be necessary sometimes in order to ascertain the quality of the hardwood charcoal before export.
More so, it is difficult to get this specification if you are not the one producing the charcoal yourself for various reasons. That is what the BIG boys won’t tell you; most of them have a place to produce their charcoal to spec. Thereby, making more money and ensuring specifications are met.
4. Government Policy:
Presently, the Federal Government has banned wood and charcoal exportation, following exporters’ refusal to adhere to the directive of cut-one plant-two policy. This new directive had thrown exporters of charcoal into confusion as some of them had existing agreements with their partners abroad. The government just came one day and banned wood and charcoal because the exporters of these items failed to meet up with the agreement they had with the government on tree planting.
Just like every other business; experience is needed. My problem with this export business is that it’s too expensive to risk learning with. That is why I advice you start with other small product exportation; build your experience and try out new things. I don’t think it’s wise to start gathering experience with a business of over a million. I mean, this is not a business you should do without gathering enough experience – you go say I talk my own o o o o .