The Effects of War on Wood Trade

Almost a third of the imports of wood and wooden furniture to the EU27, measured in value, comes from Russia, Belarus & Ukraine. In volume, its 53% when talking about lumber products like wooden logs, sawed wood and wooden boards.

With European sanctions against Russia and the discontinuation of SWIFT payments, the import of lumber products has stopped completely. In addition, many suppliers from Belarus do not comply with FSC and PEFC standards, let alone the new EUTR (European Union Timber Regulation) standards. All this leads to a shortage in availability and rising prices of timber.

The war has had a stronger effect on the availability of FSC certified wood as compared to PEFC wood. Of all FSC certified forests worldwide, 27% are in Russia while 6% are in Belarus. For PEFC forests this number lies at 10% in Russia and 3% in Belarus.

Many producers are therefore forced to transition from FSC to PEFC certified wood due to availability shortages. Or simply use what is available in the market. Birch plywood imports into the EU from Russia have also been hit for a second time (the first time during the Covid pandemic), with prices shooting up and availability at almost nothing.

As a small business owner, I am largely affected by the shortages and growing prices. These naturally directly translate to what I am able to offer clients, who more often that not are unhappy about high prices and longer delivery periods.

We all obviously hope for a quick end to the war, and for peace and prosperity to return to Ukraine. As for the woodworking industry, we need to realistically take into account that war-related effects on wood import will cause disruptions atleast until the end of 2022.