Koskisen Group06.11.2018

Koskisen’s Partnership Day highlights latest news in the wood industry

The guest speakers at this year’s Partnership Day were Kai Merivuori (left), Kalle Jokinen, Tommi Sneck and Jukka Pahta.

The guest speakers at this year’s Partnership Day were Kai Merivuori (left), Kalle Jokinen, Tommi Sneck and Jukka Pahta.

Koskisen’s fourth annual Partnership Day took place in Järvelä on the last day of October. Around forty guests from our partnership network attended the event. The themes were employment and continued growth, as well as the sawn timber industry’s importance as the backbone of the Finnish bioeconomy. The operations of the Koskisen Group and Sawn Timber Industry were presented, and the guests had the opportunity to see how softwood logs are sawn at the Järvelä sawmill.

The event kicked off in the morning with words of welcome from Chief Executive Officer Jukka Pahta, who also presented Koskisen’s operations. Pahta’s speech highlighted especially Koskisen’s regional influence. “Koskitukki buys 110 million euros worth of wood from forest owners in the surrounding area and pays some 50 million euros a year in wages, mainly to employees living in Päijät-Häme and Kanta-Häme,” he said. He also recounted how, in addition to its own employees, Koskisen employs a large number of maintenance and logistics contractors and forest machine contractors.

Päijät-Häme – wood products industry centre of excellence

Kalle Jokinen, a third-term member of parliament representing the National Coalition Party, spoke about employment and continued growth at Partnership Day. According to him, the labour market is already plagued by a partial labour shortage, which could be remedied in future through, for example, work-based immigration, in line with the approach taken in Canada and Australia. It is also important to get young people into training, and through training into working life, to be able to secure the services of a welfare society also in future. Finally, Jokinen highlighted Päijät-Häme’s status as a wood industry centre of excellence: “The wood products industry holds great opportunities, and Päijät-Häme is a strong player. We need to restore our region’s reputation as a wood products industry centre of excellence.”

Sawn timber industry the backbone of the bioeconomy

The Managing Director of the Finnish Sawmills Association, Kai Merivuori, had a clear message right from the start: “The sawn timber industry is the backbone of the Finnish bioeconomy. Without it, there would be no pulp mills, and the development of profitable new business would not be possible.” According to Merivuori, basic production is a prerequisite for developing new business. A good dose of realism and systematic research and development, however, are also important. Merivuori also discussed concerns over the increased price of sawlog raw material, which is causing problems for sawmills’ profitability. “The sawn timber industry’s share of total stumpage purchases in euros is two thirds, despite only using one third of each log,” he explained.

Major need for investments and renewal in sawmills

In his speech, Tommi Sneck, Director of Koskisen’s Sawn Timber Industry, reiterated the same theme. “Sawmills are facing weak profitability. Most Finnish sawmills were built in the 1990s and will soon be in dire need of renovations, but there won’t be any investment money if the sawn timber industry continues to foot the forest industry’s bills.” At the same time, he stresses that if sawmills were able to invest, the money would mostly remain in Finland, as Finland has strong traditions and tremendous know-how in manufacturing machinery for the sawn timber industry.

The fourth Partnership Day was considered a success at Koskisen, and the tradition will carry on and be developed further in the coming years. “We thank everyone for a great day! It is a good demonstration of how important our partners and dialogue are to us. We will have more Partnership Days in the years to come,” says CEO Pahta