Log supply in Latvia hasn’t suffered any changes since the 2nd quarter of 2020. Latvian State Forests (which owns 53% of the forest land in Latvia) continues to operate business as usual, providing log contracted volumes and securing stable deliveries.
Private forest owners in Latvia, on the other hand, are now facing with industrial wood sales problems. As a result, harvesting activities in the private sector have noticeably dropped. In spite of turbulences in log supply, sawmills operations still continued to operate at a high level – firstly, due to high stocks of winter logs and secondly, thanks to sawlog import activities.
In general, COVID-19 didn’t impact the Latvian sawmilling industry operational capabilities– no mass disease cases in mills or production stops due to lack of labour force have been recorded. Also, rigid restrictions were not applied in Latvia.
COVID-19 revealed itself in construction sector via less productivity due to social distancing. In the DIY sector even higher activity was noticed, as people were using lockdown time for dwelling renovation.
Consumer shopping in furniture segment on domestic market, quite opposite, were made with higher caution. In spite of this, big furniture producers saw the same level or even slightly higher than 2019 in the first half of the year of 2020.
No labour shortages were noticed in Latvia due to COVID-19. Government provided several support options – state guarantees for loans with higher risks and in several cases – short-term direct payments for companies to cover part of wages costs during lockdown in April-June 2020.
It looks like COVID-19 could have more or less short term impact. In the long term – Latvia’s forest industry could suffer more from expanding biodiversity requirements and most of all from unprofessional “green deal” implementation. Weather situations in Latvia during summer 2020 were unfavourable for the bark-beetle spread.
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