Södra: spruce for Germany
Germany has plentiful volumes of home-grown timber and some 600 sawmills, yet as a supplier of planed timber, Södra is appreciated in the German construction market for the strength of its relatively slow-growing spruce, the precision of its processing and certification to PEFC, which is favoured in this country. During the pandemic, we have managed to keep our customers, mainly traders, merchants and some industrial users, supplied with the timber they require, which has reinforced our strong partnerships in Germany.
In 2020 Germany saw domestically-produced sawlog volumes rise to an all-time high of more than 80 million m³ under bark, which was an increase of over 17 percent compared with the previous year. 62 million m³ of this was spruce, which represented an increase of around 32 percent over 2019. Bark beetle infestations played their part in increasing the throughput of timber. Any fears of an over-supply of logs proved unfounded, however, as large volumes were exported, particularly to China, and demand from all sectors has been, and continues to be, particularly strong.
The increasing popularity of timber as a construction material in Germany and globally has been a major factor in sustaining a level of demand which prevented the strong rebuilding of inventories. Keywords like “Greenbuilding” and statements such as “We build in CO₂” capture the spirit of a market hungry for wood, while the ease and efficiency of building in timber and the pleasant living environment it creates are becoming more widely understood here.
So while the pandemic has played its part in creating a “tight” supply situation, German sawmills have been working at their capacity limits. The small to medium operations, accounting collectively for the largest output, have taken on extra shifts while the larger sawmills were already at their technical limits.
Even if seasonal factors play their part in the months to come, the demand trajectory for finished and semi-finished timber products is upwards.
Market Manager Germany, Södra Wood