Timber import volumes among positive market indicators for year ahead

7 February 2024

Latest timber import statistics from Timber Development UK (TDUK) show the 2023 UK total imported volume is looking likely to be only slightly behind 2022’s figures.

The cumulative reduction in volume of all imports in 2023 to November was 1.3% compared to the same period in 2022. The month of November 2023 was 0.9% higher than November 2022.

TDUK also said positive indicators are beginning to emerge about the construction market.

“While 2023 may look poor against the strong construction market in 2022, timber remain in positive territory through to year end suggesting business are optimistic for Q1 2024,”
said Nick Boulton, Timber Development UK head of technical and trade policy.

“It’s important to remember that while 2024 may have started slowly, this is likely to be an election year and the political parties will soon begin to set out their manifestos and plans for the construction and housebuilding sectors. 

“The industry is expected to see recovery begin in 2025 post-General Election, and we look forward to learning how the different political parties plan to support the move towards timber as a core low-carbon building material, as has already been set out in the Government’s Timber in Construction Roadmap.”

From May to November there were six months of consecutive growth in combined import volumes across main timber, panels and engineered wood products imported by the UK.

The value of softwood imports in the eleven months of 2023 to November was 24% lower than over the same period in 2022.

Solid wood imports in the year to November were less than 1% lower than 2022 figures.

Imports of panel products in the year to November were around 3% lower than 2022 figures.