Finnish softwood timber exports are doing well, last year rising to become Finland’s fourth-largest export product, tells Finnish Sawmills Association statistics. The total value of sawn timber exports was EUR 1.64 billion. Strong and densely grained Finnish softwood is in high demand around the world for all construction, decorating and furniture applications.
“Exports to countries outside of Europe have grown both for Finland and elsewhere, especially thanks to the growing demand in China. The Wood from Finland growth programme has contributed to the demand for softwood timber in China and the rest of the world. I believe the growth will continue,” says Tommi Sneck, Director of Sawn Timber Industry at Koskisen.
“What is worrying is that domestic demand for sawn timber has plummeted. There was a time when sawn timber was being sold in the Finnish market to the tune of EUR 6 million, but last year’s sales amounted to a meagre EUR 3 million,” says Sneck.
In 2016 in Finland, 11.4 million m3 of softwood timber was produced, which represents growth of 7% compared to the previous year. Sawn timber volumes were quite evenly divided between spruce and pine. The good export volumes were overshadowed, however, by the global collapse in prices, especially for pine sawn timber.
“Sawn timber production reached its peak in 2003, when 13.5 million cubic metres were sawn,” says Kai Merivuori, Managing Director of the Finnish Sawmills Association.
“The timber industry can still increase its production by raising the capacity utilisation rate, as long as global competitiveness is ensured,” he adds.
Finnish forests are managed well and sustainably, and the trees in Finnish forests continuously outgrow the volume of trees that are harvested. The global rise of environmentally friendly sawn timber is promising for future generations, and the timber industry will continue to be a good source of jobs for many young people for years to come.