Average yearly timber import totals remain steady, despite steep declines in 2022, says TDUK

timber import patterns

Average timber import totals from 2010 to 2022 have seen steady growth, despite significant fluctuation in 2021 and 2022, according to the latest TDUK statistics.

The moving average of timber imports has increased by 2.3 million m3 since 2010, suggesting long-term stability in the timber supply chain.

This can be seen across all sectors, with the moving average of softwood, hardwood and plywood imports gradually increasing from 2010 to September 2022.

This comes despite significant import volatility in 2021 and 2022, with Brexit, the Covid-19 pandemic and more recently, the war in Ukraine disrupting timber supply and demand in the UK.

In the nine months of January to September 2022, solid wood imports were 25% lower than in the nine months of 2021 and imports of panel products were 13% lower.

Only hardwood has seen growth in 2022, with volumes up 17.8% on 2021.

TDUK Head of Technical and Trade, Nick Boulton, said:

“Despite the huge challenges our industry has faced in the last few years, these average totals suggest timber is heading in the right direction in the long term.

“We are likely to see demand and timber imports rise further in the coming years as the need to decarbonise our built environment becomes ever greater.

“Timber offers an effective, low carbon solution to embodied carbon emissions – something that is beginning to be recognised by the UK and EU Governments.

“In the short-term, we do expect 2023 to be tricky, with the CPA predicting declines in key private housing and RM&I sectors.

“Imports are likely to stay low given reduced demand and healthy stock levels on the ground.”

Members can read the full statistics report here