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Peak of roundwood logging reduction exceeded

10.08.2018 − 

In Sweden, it is assumed that the peak of the reduction in logging caused by the risk of forest fires has been exceeded. Accordingly, it is expected that the wood inventories, which have fallen to low levels, especially in Swedish pulp mills, can be slowly rebuilt in the coming weeks. According to Torbjörn Johnsen, Managing Director of the Swedish forestry entrepreneur internet platform Skogsforum, timber harvesting and forwarding can be carried out in most forest areas starting next week. Johnsen assumes that a large proportion of forestry machines will be working in the coming months with extended shifts or, if the personnel situation permits, in multi-shift operation. However, since the timber harvest in almost all of Sweden had to be reduced in May due to the dry weather and the associated risk of forest fires and had to be further reduced until the peak of the forest fire risk at the end of July, it will take until the autumn, especially in the pulp mills, to be able to increase inventories again to a noticeable extent. A further complication for the pulp industry, however, is that the Södra pulp mill in Värö has had correspondingly higher wood consumption since autumn 2016 after completion of the capacity expansion by almost 65% to 700,000 t and the SCA pulp mill in Östrand, which has doubled to 900,000 t since June 2018. On the other hand, unlike sawmills, the pulp mills cannot process the burnt wood felled on the forest fire areas. Wood chips from Central Swedish sawmills, which have already announced their intention to cut the forest firewood, cannot be used in most plants for pulp production either.

Despite the expected resurgence of business activity from next week, forestry companies in Sweden are expected to face economic difficulties as a result of business interruptions due to the risk of forest fires. In some regions, logging was suspended for almost two months. In cases where timber harvesting was carried out with special safety precautions, Swedish forestry contractors have incurred higher costs. These include post-harvest inspections or more expensive night-time operations.

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