CLT has become popular in Europe, Japan, North America and Oceania. The global production of CLT (cross-laminated timber) in 2019 was estimated at 1.44 million m3 (valued at $773 million), and it is forecast to more than double by 2025.
The 2019 Wood Rise congress in Québec City indicated an increasing global trend in the number of mediumand high-rise wood-framed buildings due to the innovative use of CLT products. A list of outstanding high-rise projects in many Western hemisphere countries. Annual global CLT production is predicted to exceed 2 million m3 in 2020 (to as high as 2.5 million m3 ), but that prediction was made before the COVID-19 pandemic, and it remains to be seen if it will come to fruition.
Global CLT production capacity is estimated at 2.8 million m3 in 2020, of which 48% is in Europe, 43% is in North America, 6% is in Oceania and 3% is in Asia (Africa and South America produce minimal CLT). If only mass timber panels for use in buildings are included (i.e. excluding industrial matting), Europe accounts for 61% of production, North America for 27%, Oceania for 7% and Asia for 3%, with the remainder in Africa and South America (Beck Group, 2020).
Austria, Czechia, Germany, Italy and Switzerland continue to form the epicentre of global CLT production. These five countries account for more than 80% of global production, estimated at 920,000 m3 in 2019. This volume was up by 12% over 2018, with most of the increase the result of greater capacity in existing plants rather than due to greenfield projects. The forecast is for production in the five countries to break the 1 million m3 mark.
CLT production is also increasing dramatically in northern Europe, with Norway (50,000 m3 in 2019) and Sweden both increasing production faster than the central European CLT cluster countries; Sweden is increasing its production capacity from 25,000 m3 in 2018 to 400,000 m3 in the near future (Jauk, 2019).
Two CLT plants are being built in the Russian Federation, and a recently constructed plant in Ukraine is now producing CLT.
A wide variety of products categorized as mass timber products is in production in North America. As of late 2018, ten CLT manufacturing plants were in operation in North America (five each in Canada and the US), with a combined annual production of about 400,000 m3.
As of year-end 2019, 14 plants were producing mass timber panels in North America, with a further three under construction and three more announced. The current practical capacity of these plants is 910,000 m3 , but the majority (slightly over half ) of this production continues to be aimed at industrial matting (platforms for equipment to work on in muddy or environmentally sensitive areas).
Thus, the practical capacity of mass timber panels for use in buildings in North America was about 439,000 m3 in 2019, and this is expected to increase by another 62,000 m3 in 2020, excluding proposed new plants.