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A continuous supply of raw materials is of central importance for the smooth functioning of the timber industry in Germany. 

Against the background of the unprecedented coronavirus crisis, the German Raw Wood Association (AGR) has captured the assessment of the market partners in the logistics chain. The result: The players in the wood supply chain right down to the processing plant do not expect major systematic supply problems.

“The previous feedback from the industry makes me cautiously optimistic that timber transport can continue to run well during the crisis,” said Marco Burkhardt, managing director of the Federal Association of the Timber Transport Industry (BdHG).

The forestry companies also continue to work largely across the board, only in the vicinity of the border, because of the lack of foreign workers, there may be occasional bottlenecks in motor manual reprocessing and replanting. “We currently see no” bottleneck “in the supply of raw materials to industry in forestry service companies,” says Maurice Strunk, Managing Director of the German Forest Entrepreneurs Association (DFUV).

The trade associations of industrial companies have so far reported no raw material problems. In a survey by the Federal Association of the Sawing and Wood Industry (DeSH), more than 95% of the sawmills indicated little or no pandemic-related restrictions in the raw material supply. The Association of German Paper Mills (VDP) also reports no raw material shortages due to the current situation.

With regard to the spreading calamities, however, the urgently needed processing of damaged wood in the forests could stall: Many companies are faced with a volatile demand for wood products. Against the background of the crisis, exports cannot absorb the corresponding quantities as before. It would be politically urgent to create a suitable valve for the recycling of damaged wood by strengthening the national demand for wood products – for example in the construction sector.

At the same time, additional transport policy measures to accelerate the removal of damaged wood, such as the temporary increase in the permissible total weight of the transport of damaged wood by truck, must be taken or continue to be carried out in order to remove as much damaged wood as possible from the forests before the bark beetle season begins and to keep the healthy trees protect.

“Overall, companies in the timber industry are currently acting cautiously, because they are used to crises, but the pandemic is an unprecedented event with no experience,” AGR President Leonhard Nossol summarizes the current mood in the industry.

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