The latest Timber Development UK (TDUK) statistics show record hardwood volumes were imported in May 2022.
Overall import volumes for hardwood were up 25% in the period running from January to May 2022, relative to the same period in 2021. This increase in hardwood volumes has largely been driven by Latvia and France, with their totals growing 110% and 82% respectively.
Tropical hardwoods have also seen growth, up 44%, with Cameroonian volumes leading in this category, increasing by 4081m3 in 2022.
Overall timber volumes were also high in May 2022, as volumes climbed over the million m3 mark for the first time since September 2021.
This growth in the month was driven by higher volumes of softwood, hardwood, plywood and particleboard compared to May 2021, only OSB and MDF volumes were lower.
Softwood imports remain 18% below the record levels seen in 2021. TDUK Head of Technical and Trade, Nick Boulton, said: “Though May 2022 totals resembled the record levels seen last year, the overall market position in 2022 is certainly more diverse than 2021.
“Hardwood imports have been driven by the pallet and packaging trade which has begun to use lower-priced, more temperate hardwood species over typically used softwood.
“The global logistics market is buoyant with demand outstripping the capacity to recirculate and where necessary repair existing pallet stocks. This means the demand for new wood pallets, bearers and dunnage are all at high levels, putting significant pressure on the available log supply and specialist mills that service this sector.
“New sectors are also causing pressure on supply with wood fuel, for example, becoming a key driver of demand across Europe due to the energy insecurity caused by the Russia-Ukraine conflict.