But there is something about the start of the new year which is good for setting targets and looking at what you want to achieve. The whole calendar year stretches out before you and possibilities and opportunities seem very tangible. At many timber companies across the UK and further afield, there will be much planning and forecasting going on.

Of course, no-one really knows what’s going to happen with the general economy, currency, import levels and interest rates, although commentators are suggesting this year could be better than 2015 in many respects.

We invited five people from across the timber sectors and one economist to give their predictions and expectations for 2016. Their views make for interesting reading, but as ever the proof is in the pudding and we’ll have to wait to see what actually transpires.

One thing’s for sure – history shows us there is likely to be a curveball at some stage in 2016 which few people saw coming. Let’s hope it will be manageable one! In this issue, we also take a look at the ports sector (page 20-24), specifically the Humber, looking at some of the developments taking place in this important importing region.

While biomass, renewable energy and other cargo sectors have squeezed space for timber products, the area remains an important hub of the softwood trade and the past year has seen some developments, notably PD Ports’ takeover of Groveport.

Meanwhile, on the certification front it’s been 20 years since FSC launched. FSC certification now covers nearly 187 million ha, with 30,000 chain of custody certificates. What’s more it has a strategic aim to more than double its share of global forest-based trade by 2020, to 20%.

PEFC also has plans for growth with ambition to expand beyond its European roots.

And its new online forest certification system, designed to help small and medium-sized private forest owners become certified, will hopefully result in more certified material coming on the market to meet demand. The UK now has 11% of all PEFC chain of custody certificates, with only Germany and France accounting for more.

Timber construction is also turning heads with TTJ consultant editor Mike Jeffree reporting on the latest world-record breaking timber building – TREET in Norway.

This building blends cross-laminated timber, timber frame and a glulam structural frame. At 14 storeys it is now the world’s tallest timber-based residential block. Impressive, but it’s crown is not set to last for long as an Austrian 24 storey project is now on the drawing board!