Industry News

Market dynamics and material shortages set to affect Oak wood availability in Europe

Markets for European Oak are facing increased pressure on price and availability. This is the key message delivered at the European Oak Conference held in London on Wednesday 18th April 2018.

The event – organised by the Timber Trade Federation (TTF) in conjunction with the European Organization of the Sawmill Industry (EOS) – featured an extensive agenda of high-profile speakers and expert panellists from top supplying countries such as Croatia, France, Poland and Ukraine. Over 100 attendees joined the Conference raising questions and actively engaging in the debate.

The speakers agreed that a combination of increased demand and market restrictions have been affecting Oak wood prices over the past few years. Significantly, as highlighted by the EOS Secretary General Silvia Melegari, exports of logs from the EU to China have soared by 181% in the last 10 years (2016 compared to 2007, source Eurostat). This growing demand is having major impacts on European Oak producers, particularly France.

The availability of European Oak is also affected by log bans in place in supplying countries such as Croatia and Ukraine due to the impact of pests (Croatia) or governmental measures to improve domestic Industry (Ukraine). This shortage of raw materials is causing several sawmills to keep production low, preventing the sector from achieving its full potential.

Silvia Melegari reminded the audience that “the concerns of the hardwood sawmill sectors have been voiced in several occasions” and that “both the EU Parliament and the European Economic and Social Committee have invited Member States to ensure that wood supply from the region's forests is sufficient to satisfy, on a sustainable basis, local industries' needs and society's needs”.

The Conference also featured a panel discussion where attendees had the opportunity to address some key issues and debate them with the speakers. Main topics included: Trade post-Brexit; Oak wood price and availability; Transport bans; Pests control; International co-operation in the sector.

“For its aesthetic and technical qualities, Oak remains a prime product for UK timber importers and traders,” says TTF Managing Director David Hopkins. “However, material shortage and international trade dynamics are likely to drive prices higher in the near future. This may open the market for alternative hardwood species.”

“The TTF - in collaboration with European partner organisations - will be monitoring market trends as well as providing assistance and guidance to members and stakeholders.”

A photo gallery of the conference is available here.

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/market-dynamics-and-material-shortages-set-affect-oak-wood-availability-europe]

UK timber operator fined under EUTR for failing to exercise due diligence

On 2nd March 2018, UK timber operator Hardwood Dimensions Holdings Limited pleaded guilty to an offence under reg4(b) of the Timber Products (Placing on the Market ) Regulations 2013.

The offence related to deficiencies within the Due Diligence system used by the company on its purchases of West African Timber, in this case FSC Certified Ayous in January 2017.

Subsequent to the enforcement visit it was acknowledged by BEIS that none of the material imported was from an illegal source. The prosecution was solely focused on the company’s due diligence systems. Hardwood Dimensions Holdings Limited co-operated fully at every stage of the investigation.

As a consequence of the investigations, and as advised by the investigators, Hardwood Dimensions Holdings Limited have adopted the Timber Trade Federation (TTF) RPP Due Diligence Tool kit and along with the TTF’s and the BEIS’s support have now implemented it across all of the products they place on the EU Market.

Simon Marsden Joint Managing Director of Hardwood Dimensions Holdings Ltd said: “This case shows how easy it is to fall foul of the EUTR. As a company, we felt we had adequate procedures in place, particularly in this case as we were purchasing FSC Certified material. However, this is clearly not the case and we admitted that for this one particular supply line our Due Diligence systems were deficient.

We are now utilising the RPP Due Diligence toolkit provided by the TTF and it has already shown to be far more robust and comprehensive than our previous system."

Following the prosecution, David Hopkins, Managing Director of the TTF said: “This case highlights the need for all importers to conduct thorough Due Diligence assessments on all of their products, even those which carry FSC certification. FSC alone is no guarantee of having complied with legal process. It is the sole responsibility of importers to ensure compliance with the EUTR and that all relevant procedures are in place.

It was clear that the timber itself was not illegally harvested, but the company has been punished for not following due process.

The TTF provides all of the tools needed to conduct exemplary due diligence via our Responsible Purchasing Policy (RPP). We will continue to work with our members to ensure the highest levels of due diligence, and would recommend all of our members attend our free EUTR and RPP workshops around the country.”

"The TTF's RPP framework was reviewed and overhauled during 2016, to provide a more robust and transparent system to members. This went live in 2017, with all members moving to the new system in phases during that year."

All ‘operators’ (importers) in TTF Membership are independently third-party audited by the Soil Association, a Monitoring Organisation of the EUTR.

Hardwood Dimensions Holdings Ltd has moved to incorporate the TTF’s new RPP toolkit as its Due Diligence system, in line with advice from the Competent Authority. They have subsequently improved their due diligence and completed a third party auditing process.

"The TTF will continue to work with all members to ensure we provide high levels of training in EUTR compliance," David Hopkins concluded.

For more information, contact the Timber Trade Federation at [email protected]

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/uk-timber-operator-fined-under-eutr-failing-exercise-due-diligence]

UK consumption of timber and panel products on the rise despite Brexit uncertainty, says TTF Statistical Review

The Timber Trade Federation (TTF) has recently released its Statistical review 2017.

The publication shows that growth in the consumption of wood products in the UK resumed in 2016, following a small drop in volume the previous year. A near 3% volume increase resulted in the volume of wood products consumed rising to over 16 million m3 for the first time since before the recession of 2008.

Regarding the origin of timber and panel products imported to the UK, Europe remains the single largest source of supply in 2016 by both volume and value. In details, mainland European (including Russia) and UK produced timber and panel products continue to dominate the supply chain in the UK and continue to account for around 91% of all supply.

Talking of types of products imported, the Review shows that UK imports grew by 4.4% in 2016 over 2015. This growth was especially generated by growth in particleboards (+12%), MDF (+9%) and softwoods (+6%). A near 1% increase was recorded for plywood imports but hardwood imports were lower in 2016 by around 2%. On the other hand, the level of UK timber and panel products exports remains quite low, achieving a volume of 0.5 million m3.

Finally, the publication presents a focus on the influence of the housing market on timber consumption along with an insight on the state of the whole Timber Industry. Significantly, the Review shows that the size and growth performance of the UK timber industry – worthy £9.6 billion in 2015 - compares favourably with many other industries, confirming the importance of the sector within the UK economy.

David Hopkins, TTF Managing Director, commented: “In terms of the value of wood products consumed in the UK, the year 2016 was the best since before the recession and indeed was better than the pre-recessionary year of 2007.”

“Although little changed materially in 2016, a high degree of uncertainty for the future was created by the EU Referendum result.”

“Different and new challenges are and will be presented, yet the timber industry has a long and mostly successful history of dealing with change. For our part, The TTF will keep on supporting member companies and new partners, putting programs in place for the benefit of the whole supply chain, and continue looking forward to facing the future together.”

If you wish to receive a copy of the publication, please contact [email protected]

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/uk-consumption-timber-and-panel-products-rise-despite-brexit-uncertainty-says-ttf]

Teak from Myanmar: TTF warns on high risk of illegality in the supply chain

Following Denmark’s recent decision to prohibit Danish companies selling Teak from Myanmar on the EU market, the Timber Trade Federation (TTF) has warned its member companies of the high risk of illegal logging in the area.

According to the TTF, currently it is extremely difficult to fully document the Myanmar supply chain from forest source to export and, therefore, conducting due diligence.

However, the TTF also notes that on 16 March this year the Myanmar Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation (MONREC) published a statement setting out the next steps in the country’s forestry reform process.  In the statement on behalf of the Union Minister, U Ohn Win, there was an acknowledgement of the complexity of the current system and a commitment to streamlining their systems.  A joint focal group has been convened to prepare a document for international traders that sets out a full description of supply chain documents.  This will be aligned with the restarting of logging following the current 2016-17 Logging Moratorium so that the new harvest will have improved traceability. 

David Hopkins, Managing Director of the TTF said: “If the EUTR is to be successfully implemented, then there must be a level playing field in Europe. This means we should respect the decisions made in Sweden and Denmark. While noting the positive reform changes recently announced in Myanmar we continue to advise our members to exercise caution in any trade from Myanmar, be aware of ongoing reform developments and ensure that all due diligence documents are clearly in place.” 

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/teak-myanmar-ttf-warns-high-risk-illegality-supply-chain]

TTF launches online survey to assess panel products specified in UK market

The Timber Trade Federation (TTF) has launched an online survey to help understand what buyers of panel products order and the performance requirements expected for the various grades of plywood and OSB.

The survey - accessible here - is part of TTF review into the specification of plywood and other panel products to assess whether the right panel products are being specified, and subsequently supplied, for the right applications.

The online consultations is specifically aimed at the purchasers of panel products, such as principal contractors, trade contractors, product manufacturers and merchants.

In fact, both the construction industry and the merchant community have repeatedly raised concerns on the quality of a range of panel products being specified and/or supplied in the UK market.

The Timber Trade Federation is now addressing the issue though a specific task force led by the independent chair Charlie Law from Sustainable Construction Solutions Ltd.

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/ttf-launches-online-survey-assess-panel-products-specified-uk-market]

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