The sanctions imposed on Russia in connection with the invasion of Ukraine have caused a shortage of wood in Poland. And as there is less raw material, it becomes more and more expensive.
”The increase in prices on the wood market has been going on for two years. However, the war and the ban on timber from Russia and Belarus made it huge,” says Rafał Szefler, president of the Polish Chamber of Commerce of the Wood Industry.
According to Poland’s Deputy Minister of Climate, Edward Siarka, approx. 2 million cubic meters of felling are used by the energy industry and about 1 million cubic meters of wood is used for processing. ”The supply is much lower than the demand, which means that in some regions there is a real war for wood,” he admitted in the Sejm in May.
”Pine roundwood which is the most popular, used to cost about PLN 300/m3 (EUR 64/m3) two years ago. Today, this pine costs twice as much. In extreme cases, even three times more,” says Rafał Szefler. We are talking about wood used mainly in construction, but a significant increase in prices also applies to firewood.
Firewood: “It will be even more expensive in the fall”
”People are looking for alternatives to heating their homes, which has caused skyrocketing prices and speculation in the market. I am convinced that wood will be even more expensive in the fall,” forecasts Rafał Szefler and adds that the owners of firewood warehouses have a huge problem with supplies.
”There is a shortage of wood, because we have twice as many customers as a year ago,” he says
There are also problems with the raw material at the German border as the number of customers from beyond the western border has increased significantly.
”I have never had so many buyers from Germany before. The movement started this way from the beginning of July,” says the owner of a warehouse in Gubin. He estimates that in the last month demand has soared by about 60-70 percent with many customers from Germany.
Why is the wood missing?
According to the president of the Polish Chamber of Commerce for the Wood Industry, there is not enough raw material on the Polish market. ”The solution is not increased logging. I am absolutely against it, but a ban on the export of Polish timber. Our wood goes to Romania, Germany, Sweden, China. Poland exports over 4 million cubic meters annually, i.e. about 10 percent of all wood available on the market”.
The system created by the the Polish State Forests is to blame for this state of affairs. Until October 2021, forests were offering 20 percent at open auctions of all the wood sold. Now it jumped to 30 percent. And at these auctions prices go crazy.
”Anyone can buy wood obtained by the State Forests. Agents, traders and corporations that have huge sawmills along the Polish borders buy wood from us, because we have the most liberal sales system in Europe. Today, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, which used to buy timber in Belarus, came to us,” he says.
As he adds, the energy industry is also to blame, as it burns huge amounts of wood to cover its liabilities due to the shortage of coal.