TTF says stability returns to UK timber supply chain

10 January 2022

The UK’s leading timber industry representative body – the Timber Trade Federation (TTF) – says the industry will enter a period of greater stability in 2022 following a year of record imports.

The latest TTF statistics show a 28% growth in timber import volumes between January and October 2021 (compared to a year before) – reaching a total of 10.3 million m3 for the period.

Stats reveal a significant shift in timber import patterns with volumes 16% lower in October 2021 than in the corresponding month in 2020. It was the first month in 2021 where the volume of timber imported was below its corresponding level from 2020, and the end of 15 months of continual growth in UK imports of timber and panel products.

Softwood import volumes reflected these changes with just 557,000m3 entering the UK in October 2021 – which is very close to the average volume of softwood imports seen between 2015 to 2018 (559,000m3).

The TTF says the shift can likely be attributed to a return to more ‘regular’ demand for new housing and RM&I seen in Q4 2021.

“As predicted throughout, with stocks having been replenished throughout the supply chain we are seeing price pressure reduce and import volumes return to more normal parameters,” said Nick Boulton, TTF head of technical and trade policy.

“This suggests an end to some of the market disruption we saw last year where our industry was working above and beyond to ensure exceptionally high construction demand was met.

“However, the market is still some way off ‘normality’ as Brexit, HGV driver shortages and Covid-19 disruption continue to affect supply and demand, as well as labour availability.”

TTF Members can read the full report on the TTF website HERE