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EOS: 2020 softwood lumber production up despite corona

22.07.2021 − 

In 2020, softwood lumber production in the twelve member countries of the European Organisation of the Sawmill Industry (EOS) increased by 1.0% vis à vis the preceding year to 85.86m m³. This more than compensated for the decline recorded in 2019 (-0.6%) and furthermore exceeded the production volume of 85.53m m³ recorded in 2018.

One factor that helped to facilitate the increase was a rise in production capacities, particularly at sawmills in Central Europe and Finland. The corona-related restrictions did not have a negative impact on cutting. This enabled the sawmill industry to disconnect itself from the negative economic development felt across Europe. According to the 2020/2021 EOS annual report, which was presented at the general meeting held in Helsinki on 24 June, a high level of cutting activity was observed in most of the countries. In addition, availability of roundwood was sufficient due to large volumes of damaged wood, especially in Central Europe and the south of Sweden. In the second half of the year, however, local supply shortages ensued from a lower-than-expected accumulation of beetle-damaged wood.

The production increase at many sawmills - some of which achieved export rates of more than 25% - was driven by the volumes sold to customers in non-EU countries. The United Kingdom occupied first place in the rankings; one-tenth of all lumber exports from Continental Europe and Scandinavia were delivered there. However, China and the USA also became the most important sales markets for numerous European exporters in 2020. In China, demand recovered more swiftly than originally expected by market players.

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