Softwood imports see a strong start to 2023, says TDUK

CPA survey

The softwood category started 2023 on a high, with volumes up 12% compared to January 2022, according to the latest Timber Development UK statistics.

Softwood imports totalled 426,000m3 in January this year, with volume increases from Sweden, Finland and the Republic of Ireland largely responsible.

Despite softwood increases, overall timber import volumes were 8.7% lower than in January 2022.

This is due to significant declines in panel product imports, with plywood and particleboard down 42% and 18% respectively.

Hardwood imports also dropped by 37% following a record year in 2022.

Looking long-term, there is room for positivity, with yearly import volumes around 100,000m3 higher on average than in 2013.

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

“It is great to see softwood imports on the up once more following a tricky 2022.

“This growth is largely attributable to returning construction activity, with recent Department for Business and Trade figures reporting increased RM&I work in early 2023.

“These latest softwood figures suggest that normality may finally be returning to the market after a tumultuous few years of Covid, conflict and general uncertainty.

“The panel and hardwood sectors are a little further behind, with imports well below 2022 levels. This, however, is due in part to unusually high imports in January 2022 rather than downward market trends.

“Looking long-term, the stats paint a positive picture with timber imports consistently on the up since 2013.

“This is likely to continue in the years ahead as the UK Government looks to decarbonise its built environment using timber.”

Updates to our monthly statistics

We have revamped our statistics this month to provide extra market analysis for our members.

New additions include more detailed country analysis, taking a closer look at the exporter nations providing our softwood, hardwood and panel products. Check out pages 5-7 for hardwood analysis and page 13 for a general overview.

We have also simplified our key data tables on page 12, making the information more succinct.

If members have any questions about the statistics, please contact


Members can read the full statistics report here.