One of Chile’s leading softwood producers, CMPC Maderas, is reassuring UK customers it can continue to supply them after the country’s major earthquake in February.

The company’s European sales manager Paulo Valdes is visiting agents and key customers across Europe this month to tell them that shipments will start again late April, early May.

According to sole UK agent Price & Pierce, the move follows difficulties in sourcing Chilean timber and wood products immediately following the February 27 quake, which registered 8.8 on the Richter scale.

“The basis of Mr Valdes’ message is that, even after such a severe earthquake, CMPC lost only 20 days of production and that its mills are now running at normal levels,” said Stephen Pitt of Price & Pierce. “While there is obviously significant local demand for rebuilding, CMPC volumes will be made available to the UK, subject, of course, to price levels being attractive compared to other markets.”

He added that the disruption to CMPC’s production was principally due to power outages.

The Chilean company supplies the UK with structural machine graded timber, C24 carcassing, CLS, high quality moulding grades and plywood, all in radiata pine.

CMPC has 1.8 million ha of certified radiata and eucalyptus plantations and operates four sawmills, two planing mills and a plywood plant.

It also has a substantial pulp and paper business.

In March, the US Random Lengths news service reported that prices of radiata pine blocks and blanks rose sharply in America due to the earthquake disrupting Chilean supplies. Brazilian suppliers were inundated with orders from radiata buyers, it said.