I say STOP to massive log exports !
The Member States of the European Union and the European authorities must act decisively and quickly to save the wood processing industries. It is the future of a key component of the sector together with the economic recovery and relocation policy that are at stake
Without supplies, the crisis will have direct consequences for the downstream of the sector (industry and crafts, construction and logistics) which will no longer be able to source materials in Europe and will be dependent on imports from outside Europe.
Make no mistake, the log supply crisis for sawmills is of a violence never seen before and is only going to get worse
It’s time to wake up to the fact that European sawmills are now facing closures and liquidation if nothing is done to stop the hemorrhage that is taking place before our eyes.
In 2020, 18 million softwood logs were grabbed by countries outside of Europe: a doubling compared to 2019. Over the last 4 months, this leakage of raw material has again increased by 1,5. The same has been true for years for beech and oak logs resulting in production decrease. Overall : 20 million m3 in 2020 ; 30 million m3 end of 2021 if nothing changes!
All the qualities of logs are concerned, even industrial logs for panels and paper are leaving by the shipload
Faced with strong global demand that creates supply tensions in all sectors, European sawmills are the only ones able to guarantee supplies to the European market under economically and ecologically sound conditions. Have we learned nothing from the episode of covid masks and vaccines?
Russia's choice to ban the export of fresh logs and China's strategy based on the capture of raw materials will increase tenfold the appetite of non-European actors who take advantage of the passivity of European governments to plunder without limit the resource that European manufacturers need to work and fuel European consumption.
All sectors are now affected and supply problems are being felt on all markets and among our customers who are carpenters, home builders, retailers and industrialists. They cannot rely or compete on international markets to secure supplies. The logistics sector is also threatened with a significant risk of disruption in supply chains (packaging, transport, etc.) if pallet manufacturers cannot find wood products locally.
This economic and ecological aberration must stop now.
While Europe is showing a strong political will for an ecological transition and the reduction of CO2 emissions, it is counting on wood, building materials of the future, to achieve its objectives. The massive export of logs simply cancels out all these calculations by emitting more carbon than the tree has stored in its lifetime.
European manufacturers cannot invest and modernize without securing their raw material supplies. Europe is one of the last regions in the world not to have a strategy for the valorization of its natural resources, while we, the companies involved in the primary processing of wood, are building, through our work, a European industry that is what Europe should be: Modern, Responsible and Sustainable.
The services of the Member States and the representatives of the European institutions have been letting this toxic trade take hold for 10 years. We now are on the edge of the cliff
Allowing the export of our raw material without ensuring a strategic and priority supply of our European industries is simply to:
- Condemn the wood industry to no longer be self-sufficient
- Condemn a sector that provides local jobs
- Endanger the sectors of craftsmen, construction, logistics...
- Turning our backs on our ecological ambitions
- Sacrifice the work of our predecessors and not offer our children a future in this industry.
Entrepreneurs, processors, customers and users, wake up: your sawmill industry is in mortal danger. It is you who are going to write the history of the end or the rebirth of our European wood processing industry.