The Timber Trade Federation (TTF) has released their monthly report, stating that more than 3.32 million m3 of timber and panel imports were imported into the UK in Q3 2021, as the market achieves greater balance between supply and demand after nearly a year of record imports.
Analysis of these statistics by the TTF statistics shows these import levels are more than 23% over Q3 2020 and, significantly, more than 10% higher than the last time Q3 volumes exceeded 3 million m3 in 2007.
Softwood is being imported in larger amounts from a more diverse range of countries over the past quarter, with Latvia, Finland, and Germany growing to account for 61% of the 1.8 million m3 of softwood imported in Q3 2021.
Nick Boulton, head of technical and trade policy at the TTF, said: “After this record period the stock levels have returned back towards their pre-pandemic levels and the logistics supply chain is struggling to find sufficient space for further volume – so much so that in Sweden we are seeing some sawmills reduce their overall production volumes.
“However, while we can see stock levels returning, the UK market is clearly in a different place compared to where it was two years ago, with the likes of HGV driver shortages, port delays and Brexit changes likely to continue to impact the market in the coming months.”
Other timber products, including hardwood, plywood, particleboard, oriented-strand board (OSB) and medium-density fibreboard (MDF), have also seen clear increases in Q3 2021 as compared with the previous year.
While some goods continue to be under pressure amidst buoyant demand, and logistics issues, the timber supply chain overall has proven resilient, with the timber industry in a strong position to meet demand in 2022.
Boulton concluded: “Despite these challenges, these past 21 months have proven that the timber supply chain is resilient. We are in a strong position to meet growing demand for sustainable, low-carbon construction materials – both now and in the future.