What We Do Best

Putnam Lumber and Export is a wholesale export distributor of quality lumber, plywood, oriented strand board and other construction products from the United States, Canada, Brazil and China. The company was founded in 1945 and has a rich history that dates back to the early 1900s. We are experienced in all phases of lumber manufacturing, cargo handling, and export distribution. Shipments are routed directly from the manufacturer or from our warehouses located in Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, and Georgia via break bulk, flat rack, flat bed, and containerized shipments.

Putnam Stencil

A rich heritage leads to successful exporting business today

Our exporting roots began with supplying the Caribbean markets SYP and Cypress lumber in 1928. Over the years, Putnam Lumber has expanded into new markets and new product categories. This includes foreign to foreign shipments of plywood originating from Brazil and China. Even though the Caribbean continues to be our most important market, we have grown and expanded into new markets throughout the years. Today, we have an annual overseas distribution of 95,000 cubic meters (over 2,000 truckloads) and are shipping products as close as Mexico and as far away as eastern Asia.

Our Core Philosphy

Our core philosophy is to develop and maintain long-term relationships based on honesty, open communication, and loyalty. Accordingly, we offer a consistent business plan designed to achieve this goal.

Putnam Lumber is:

SYP Lumber in Warehouse
  • Committed to global trade through understanding diverse cultures and business practices to better serve our customers and their markets.
  • A privately-owned business, not burdened by layers of management and frequent personnel changes.
  • Financially strong and stable. By purchasing in high volume from quality-oriented manufacturers, we provide our customers with the best product choices to fill their needs.
  • A member of major export-focused U.S. trade associations. These associations assist the company in providing product information and technical assistance where needed.

Experience Matters!

In this business experience matters so much in getting materials delivered quickly, priced competitively, and filled accurately. Our client base enjoys working with seasoned industry veterans:

  • Ownership & Officers: Putnam's owners have a combined 50 years of industry experience and are actively involved in the day-to-day operations of the company
  • Purchasing & Sales Team: Our purchasing and sales team, which is lead by a 30-year industry veteran, has over 70 years combined industry experience
  • Documentation Team: Our Documentation Manager has over 20 years industry experience

When you place your order, wouldn't you rather place it with the most experienced team in the business? In this business there are always obstacles to overcome... but at Putnam we have seen virtually every one of them before and know how to overcome them without jeopardizing your on-time delivery of quality products.

Our Heritage

William O'Brien 1900 - Putnam Lumber Company founded as a timber holding company
Putnam Lumber Company was organized at Eau Claire, Wisconsin in 1900 by William O'Brien and his associates. He and his associates acquired about 300,000 acres of land that had been sold by the State of Florida. Originally Putnam Lumber Company was formed as a timber holding company and did not undertake manufacturing operations until 1919. The vast timberlands in Florida contained longleaf yellow pine and deep swamp tidewater red cypress stands of trees.

Putnam Sawmill 1919 - Sawmill operations begin
In 1919 the company leased the old Cummer Lumber Co. mill at Jacksonville, Florida and began lumber manufacturing operations. The company continued its manufacturing operations at the leased sawmill until 1928, when at that time moved all operations to a newly constructed pine and cypress manufacturing operations in Shamrock, Florida. While the new sawmill was being constructed, the company also established an office in San Juan, Puerto Rico, to enhance its relations with its export clients in the Caribbean.

1928 - Construction of new cypress and pine sawmill is complete in Shamrock, Florida.
The company began annual production of 40,000,000 feet of deep swamp tidewater red cypress and 100,000,000 feet of dense Florida longleaf yellow pine from the new sawmill in Shamrock, Florida. At this time, the company has established a robust export trade in which the Shamrock sawmill and other sawmills in the Gulf Coast supplied orders for clients throughout the Caribbean.

1945 - Putnam Lumber and Export Company is founded by J. Ellis Crosby.
The company continued its sawmill operations and produced many hundreds of millions of feet of Long Leaf Yellow Pine and Tidewater Red Cypress throughout the years. In 1945, Putnam Lumber Company was nearing the end of its sawmill operations and changed its focus to the export trade in the United Kingdom, European and Caribbean lumber markets. At this time, Putnam Lumber and Export Company of Jacksonville, Florida was formed by J. Ellis Crosby. Prior to forming Putnam Lumber & Export Company, J. Ellis Crosby served for twenty-seven years as sales manager of Putnam Lumber Company.

2006 - Company expands supply efforts by adding shipments from foreign manufacturers to our markets
Brazil began ramping up production of pine construction plywood and decorative hardwood plywood for exportation to foreign countries in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Many of our markets began specifying plywood from Brazil. In 2006, Putnam began supplying our export clients with plywood shipping direct from Brazil. In a similar manner, we noticed many of our clients specifying hardwood plywood manufactured in China. So in 2007, Putnam began working with plywood manufacturers in China for supply of direct container loads shipping to our export clients. Putnam Lumber has enjoyed long lasting and solid relationships with our foreign supplier base of plywood products.

Putnam Operations Today

Today Putnam Lumber & Export Company is focused on its main export markets in the Caribbean, Central America, Mediterranean, Europe, North Africa, and Eastern Asia with an annual overseas distribution of 95,000 cubic meters (over 40 million board feet). Shipments are routed worldwide direct from mills or from our warehouses located in the United States. While a majority of our business is exportation of Southern Pine Lumber, Southern Pine Plywood, and Composite Panel products, we continue to expand into new markets and new product categories. Putnam Lumber and Export Company has grown by focusing on our customers' needs rather than our own. We strive to provide dependable service while filling the special needs of our customers and developing lasting relationships.