Most of UK timber supply chain re-opening by end of May

Almost all businesses in the timber supply chain will be re-starting operations in May according to a Confederation of Timber Industries (CTI) survey, reported Timber Trade Journal (TTJ).

The survey showed that a full one third of businesses remained open to some extent during the Covid-19 lockdown. The remainder of businesses responding to the survey will be re-opening at some time before the end of May.

“The results from this survey demonstrate the resilience of timber, and that as construction comes back on line, that businesses can have confidence in the merchants, manufacturers and traders they rely on to stand by them,” said Roy Wakeman, chair of the CTI.

“Over the past six weeks the UK has faced some unprecedented challenges. Now as we seek to rebuild a better future beyond this crisis, we know timber will continue to grow as the material of choice for the construction industry.”

Based on further statistics from the survey, only 12% of the industry is currently operating at maximum capacity, but confidence is high that businesses can quickly ramp up productivity. Assuming all quarantine measures were lifted, 54% of businesses said they could return to full capacity immediately, and 34% would take less than a month.

When considering the main challenges to fully reopening, companies cited ‘government legislation’ and ‘lack of demand in the supply chain’ as the two biggest issues. Sufficient supplies of personal protection equipment (PPE) was seen as a risk by those involved in the timber manufacturing sector.

Manufacturing also saw the most disruption in the timber supply chain, being hit on both sides with shortages of raw materials from sawmills and reduced demand and capacity from distribution.