WOODBANK TIMBER SUPPLY CHALLENGES BRING GROWTH OPPORTUNITIES
In spite of the supply issues which has impacted on the timber industry this year, Woodbank Timber continue to invest in the future growth of their business and are positive about the future of the trade even with BREXIT on the horizon.
Woodbank Timber has recently employed two additional members of staff to bolster their experienced team in order to facilitate the anticipated growth.
Head of Sales, Adrian Howden discussed the company’s view of the future, “The UK is a net importer of timber and timber products with the current supply split 60/40 in favour of imported material. With global demand for timber expected to triple by 2050 and BREXIT a matter of months away, the timber industry and its customers need to adapt to the inevitable changes in the supply chain that lie ahead. UK sawmills are restricted on output capacity due to log supply. The historical and continued shortfall in achieving planting targets means the forested land area in the UK is around 13%, which is low comparative to the 35% average across the EU. The ability for the UK sawmill sector to soak up any increases in demand will continue to be challenging, and indeed made more difficult by the competition for raw material coming from the Biomass and sheet material sectors. We are all aware of the grading limitations of UK grown timber, it is not suitable for a broad range of applications that require high performance strength/ stability and machining qualities. In the case of Fencing and in-ground applications, due to permeability differences, the principal UK grown species – Spruce, is less suitable than Pine. Pine is widely available from UK based Importers sourcing from Eastern Europe and the Baltic States. All of this presents a huge opportunity for Woodbank Timber to continue to invest in the future with confidence. The growing UK market with its domestic sawmilling supply/ capacity issues coupled with its bottled-up housing demand ensures that growth prospects for timber are strong – even with the looming uncertainty presented by BREXIT. However, there is a note of caution. In the context of a global market the UK will be competing against a foreign thirst for timber and inevitably in order to secure the volumes – prices are certain to increase. It is important for businesses to be prepared for the implications of this shift to a supply led market.
” Richard Greenaway the Commercial Director for Woodbank Timber continues, “We are confident in the future of our industry, the addition of two new sales recruits to our already strong team develops and strengthens our ability to provide the very best service to our ever growing and highly valued customer base. We have seen already throughout 2018 the tightening up of global log supply and the ramifications it has on specification gaps and price inflation, there are no indications of this abating in the short to medium term. So far, throughout 2018 the fencing industry has been somewhat shielded from the full extent of supply issues by relatively flat demand on the imported panel side. This has been brought about by the UK weather – no early storm damage, followed by several months of severe cold and snow, an early Easter, combined with the driest warmest summer on record since 1976, all of which have gone some way to diluting the supply pressure. The relative stability of the pound against EU currencies has ensured any inflation is predominantly attributed to material cost, and as such moderating to an extent the level of cost inflation. There are supply challenges ahead for the timber trade and we have a responsibility to ensure this message is communicated clearly and openly, but, at the same time we cannot lose sight of the value our material has.