Management of the effects of the January storm in southern Sweden impacted on Södra‘s operations in the first quarter.

The result amounted to SKr255m compared with SKr331m the previous year. Costs include SKr108m that has been reserved as the base of a storm payment fund to be paid to Södra’s members.

Major extra investments have been made to deal with the aftermath of the storm which, Södra said, caused 70 million m3 of forests to be felled, representing four years worth of felling.

The forestry group said its challenge is to deal with 38 million m3 of timber felled on member’s properties within an 18-month period. The value is estimated at around SKr15,000m.

More than 3,000 people are working in the storm-damaged forests of Södra members but there is uncertainty over volumes and prices along with community regulations for transportation and timber storage. All members will receive the same price regardless of when the storm-felled wood is processed.

Södra president Leif Brodén said: “Transport capacity will be a bottleneck even after the summer. An extension of the dispensation for foreign lorries is therefore required after June 30. The measures we requested have to a large extent been met, but we’ll continue our close contact with the government.

Measures have been implemented at Södra’s sawmills and pulp mills to enable as much storm timber to be handled as possible; the aim is 80%.

Södra Timber is increasing production from 1.4 million m3 last year to 1.8 million m3, while Södra Cell’s pulp mills are increasing their use of southern Swedish softwood by 1.3 million m3.