Softwood spearheads a timber resurgence and International Women’s Day

Softwood spearheads a timber resurgence and International Women’s Day


After the first lockdown in March last year the timber industry, just like the rest of the UK economy, came to a near standstill, and the volume of timber being imported fell sharply. The provisional figures released today for timber imports show a resilient comeback.

Despite imports of softwood falling by 24% in Q1/Q2 of 2020, the volume of softwood imports ended up 3% higher than 2019. This came after 4.9 million m3 was imported between August and December 2020.

Hardwood imports, plywood, MDF, and OSB all saw similar trends meaning the cumulative total for all timber imports in 2020 was just 3% lower than 2019. This speaks to the strength and vital importance of the timber supply chain, which has persisted through a global pandemic and Brexit.

When restrictions eased over summer and safe site operating procedures were introduced for the construction industry to continue through future restrictions, timber imports were able to rapidly bounce back in response to surging levels of demand.

While there will no doubt be more challenges to be faced in 2021, the response of the industry over the last 12 months to meet the needs of customers has been incredible.

One such challenge, which should always be at the front of mind for the construction industry, is the skills crisis. Monday was International Women’s Day, and I would like to highlight a blog from our very own Tabitha Binding.

In construction, as little as 13% of jobs are held by women, which is a woeful figure. All our members in the timber industry should aim to lead construction in making a positive change by bringing more diversity into our organisations across all levels.

Please do read the blog, and #choosetochallenge areas both in your organisation and across the industry where there is any form of bias or discrimination.

Featured in the image on the left side (left to right)

Tabitha Binding, Camilla Hair, Karen Sussex, Xiao Ma, Lucy Kamall, Jade Savill, Lucy Bedry 

Right side (left to right)

Ivona Zinic, Genevieve Ding, Laura Qualters, Pippa Jemmett-Squibbs, Georgia Buckley-Ryan, Charlotte Hanham

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