Tilbury-based MBM Forest Products Ltd, which has longstanding connections with Canada, expects Canadian shipments consisting of “several thousand cubic metres” in the next few weeks.

MBM said it expected sourcing of structural softwood from alternative markets like Canada to be a growing feature of the UK trade.

“It’s a very natural fit for us to renew our connections with Canada,” said Tim Gabriel, managing diector of MBM’s softwoods division. “This has been driven by a restriction of supply in the Baltics and Scandinavia.

“Over the last six months we’ve been in discussion with Canadian companies with whom we have maintained long-term connections to re-establish the supply of structural softwoods.

“We have contracts in place for imminent arrival of structural softwood from both eastern and western Canada.”

The Canadian suppliers include Western Forest Products and JD Irving.

The softwood will be regularised, kiln dried, graded carcassing, mainly C16/C24, in a broad range of dimensions.

“Scandinavian prices have moved upwards which has been supply driven, not demand driven, to such an extent that the North Americans have found that the European market is viable,” added Mr Gabriel.

“We still remain loyal to our regular supply base in the Baltics and Sweden and continue to take cargoes of structural softwood from these suppliers. It’s important for us to maintain long-term supply relationships.”

Scandinavian and Baltic wood will still form the lion’s share of MBM’s structural softwood imports.

MBM said the Canadian timber will equal the standard of its existing supply.