Opportunity for the timber industry

15.06.2021

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The industry is unanimous in stating shortages and in some cases sharp price increases for important products for timber construction. Even more than the increased prices are the long delivery times. In the long term, however, the opportunities and possibilities for strengthening the timber industry with a robust value chain outweigh the shortages.

Due to the sudden international increase in demand for wood and the associated price fluctuations, the demand for Swiss wood also rose sharply in the short term. «This development is a great opportunity that must be used in the best possible way to sustainably strengthen the regional processing chains,» say the associations of the Initiative Holz Bern. An expansion of processing capacities is needed, especially in the second processing stage. But this cannot be done overnight: to correct this, investments are needed. And these will only be made when the demand for products made from Swiss wood also settles at a higher level in the long term. 


Timbatec promotes the use of products made from Swiss wood, because they perform significantly better in terms of sustainability than comparable products from international production (see example wildlife bridge in Neuenkirch). Thanks to the motion "Research and innovation of wood as a material for use in infrastructure construction as a decarbonization contribution" by Jakob Stark and the motion of the same name by Erich von Siebenthal, many more infrastructure buildings will be built with wood in the future. Read more.

Wildtierbrücke aus Schweizer Holz

The forest owners show willingness to sustainably supply the sawmills with roundwood. This is, of course, on condition that the positive market development also has an effect on the roundwood price. After all, it is central to a healthy supply chain that forest owners receive an appropriate price for the raw material wood. In return, the industry is holding out the prospect of a corresponding price adjustment for roundwood in the fall. Daniel Fässler, member of the Council of States, has submitted a parliamentary initiative to this effect. Read more.


The influence of pricing on the volume of timber harvested is undisputed. In autumn at the latest, the sawmills' wood stocks will run low. Sawmills depend on an early start to the timber harvesting season in September in order to be able to continue to utilize their production capacity.


Everyone is talking about the bottlenecks in the procurement of materials for timber construction. Overall, however, it can be seen that wood products are not the only ones suffering from a price boom in the construction market. Steel and other metals, plastics and glass are affected to a similar extent. Long delivery times and sharp price increases are taking their toll. The reason for this development is the high international demand and the low stock levels, which are due to Corona-related production losses. As a result, Swiss wood has suddenly become competitive not only in terms of quality and sustainability, but also in terms of price.

Brücke Tüfisteg aus Schweizer Holz

If we can win back our woodworkers and carpenters to use Swiss wood, we can reduce our dependence on the world market and make the industry as a whole more robust. This will require investment and new forms of cooperation for more flexibility in the supply chain. There will always be fluctuations in the global market, as can be seen with other construction and materials. But with a strong regional value chain, such fluctuations can be significantly flattened. This is a great opportunity for the Swiss timber construction market. Strengthening the regional wood value chain not only secures numerous jobs, but also minimizes gray energy thanks to short transport routes. Increased demand for Swiss wood and the associated greater use of wood also makes a valuable contribution to CO₂ storage and to achieving climate targets.

 
 
 

Switzerland:

Thun Branch

Timbatec Timber Construction Engineers Switzerland Ltd.

Niesenstrasse 1, 3600 Thun

Tel: +41 58 255 15 10

thun@timbatec.ch


Zürich Branch

Timbatec Timber Construction Engineers Switzerland Ltd.

Ausstellungsstrasse 36, 8005 Zürich

Tel: +41 58 255 15 20

zuerich@timbatec.ch


Delémont Branch

Timbatec Timber Construction Engineers Switzerland Ltd.

Avenue de la Gare 49, 2800 Delémont 

+41 58 255 15 40 

delemont@timbatec.ch


Bern Branch

Timbatec Timber Construction Engineers Switzerland Ltd.

Falkenplatz 1, 3012 Bern

Tel: +41 58 255 15 30

bern@timbatec.ch

Austria:

Headquarters Vienna (A) 

Timbatec Timber Construction Engineers GmbH
Im Werd 6/31a, 1020 Wien 
Tel: +43 720 2733 01

wien@timbatec.at


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