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The largest sawmills in Germany increased their sawmill production volume again last year. Most companies want to maintain or increase their production quantities in 2021. The supply of roundwood could, however, destroy this project.

For 2020, the German softwood sawmills with a production of over 50,000 cubic meters per year have increased production once again as compared to 2019. Those companies that announced their figures reported a production of about 30.9 million cubic meters.

Increase compared to 2019

Compared to the previous year, this is an increase of 3.8%. This result is particularly noteworthy against the background of the coronavirus pandemic – there were brief production stops in March 2020, during the first lockdown. The roundwood supply was constant, especially due to the high amount of damaged wood. As in 2019, this was higher than the impact in Germany in 2020. In the previous year around 70 million m3 were harvested with 72.5 million m3 of damaged wood.

Most sawmills were able to hold their lumber production compared to 2019 or expand them further. If you also add those companies that did not provide any information, the lumber production in 2020 in Germany was at least 33.5 million cubic meters.

Ziegler, Ilim, Mercer, Binder

The largest single sawmill was again the Ziegler Holzindustrie, Plößberg, with a lumber production of 2.2 million cubic meters. Ilim Nordic Timber, Wismar, was the second largest sawmill with 1.9 million cubic meters, followed by Mercer Timber Products, Saalburg-Ebersdorf, 1.35 million cubic meters.

The largest sawmill group in Germany is Binderholz. At the four locations in Kösching, Baruth, Wolfegg and Oberrot, the company produced a total of 3.44 million cubic meters of lumber in 2020. With the two sawmills in Wismar and Landsberg, Ilim achieved a volume of 3 million cubic meters. The Pfeifer Holz Group with locations in Lauterbach, Uelzen and Unterbernbach reported a lumber production of 2.35 million cubic meters for 2020.

14 locations with 1 million cubic meters and more

In 2020, 14 sawmill locations achieved a lumber production of 1 million cubic meters and more. In 2020, these 14 sawmills together reached 17.5 million m3 and thus 57% of the total amount of 30.9 million m3 Kerkingen and Pfeifer Holz in Lauterbach.

Another increase planned for 2021

The companies that have reported the target figures for 2021 want to achieve a lumber production of around 31.6 million cubic meters this year. That alone would be an increase of over 2%. If you add those based on 2020, a lumber production of  32.9 million m3 (+ 6.4% compared to 2020) could be achieved.

Ante-holz alone is planning, for example, an additional lumber production totaling 600,000 cubic meters at both locations. The Rettenmeier Group wants to increase its volume by the same number in 2021. At Mercer Timber Products there will be +200,000 m3. A new sawmill will be added in 2021: The small wood line from GELO Timber, Wunsiedel, has been running since the beginning of the year. In the final stage, up to 350,000 cubic meters of lumber per year will be produced there in two shifts.

Shortage threatens

Whether the sawmills can respect the production plan in 2021 depends primarily on the continued supply of roundwood. In the second quarter in particular, there is a threat of a shortage due to a lack of beetle wood.

Another sawmill will be up and running in Germany by the end of the year: In September 2020, Best Wood Schneider announced that it would build a new sawmill (including an attached CLT production) in Meßkirch. The production capacity will be of around 200,000 m³ / year. This corresponds to a cut of around 350,000 cubic meters of logs.

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