2 min read

Russian Wood Chip and Log Imports Drop to Zero Across Europe in 2022

Texture of wood chips in both foreground and background.

Europe has continued to feel the impacts of Russia’s war against Ukraine. The consequence is a full cessation on the import of wood raw materials to countries like Finland.

Finland’s Market Reflects Europe’s Shunning of Russia

Looking to Finland can reveal just how dramatic the market has shifted.

Finnish pulpmills and sawmills have long been dependent on imported wood raw materials to meet their wood fiber needs. In 2021, as much as 23% of the pulp sector relied on foreign logs and wood chips. The stock came predominantly from neighboring countries.

From 2018 to 2021, the total import volume was over 11 million m3 annually. Hardwood logs accounted for about 50% of the volume. However, the historically stable foreign fiber supply changed swiftly in early 2022.

Finland’s wood raw-material imports from Russia fell dramatically in 2022 following many years of active trade between the two countries.

Russia decided to halt softwood log exports starting January 1, 2022 to support the domestic forest industry with lower-cost wood raw-material. Hardwood logs and wood chips were exempted from that export ban.

After Russia invaded Ukraine, Finland boycotted the importation of Russian goods like most European countries. This ban included forest products, and trade started to dwindle between Russia and Finland in Q2 2022.

By Q3 2022, shipments were down to zero between the two countries.

Russian Wood Product Alternatives a Challenge to Find for Finland

The strong pulp market made the Finnish pulp industry search for alternative supply sources to keep operating rates high. As expected, it has been difficult to find over 10 million m3 of pulplogs and chips (annualized) on such relatively short notice.

Companies have used different strategies to tackle the tight fiber supply. This includes the following:

  • Using more domestic pulpwood
  • Substituting softwood fiber for hardwood fiber
  • Importing more wood fiber from non-Russian sources

In Q3 2022, imports were mainly up from Sweden and the Baltic States. But there were also a few shipments of logs and wood chips from Brazil, South Africa, and Uruguay.

In 2022, the total imports will likely be down almost 60% from 2021. Hardwood log supply declined even more with a 70% drop.

In the coming years, it is possible that Finnish pulpmills will increase the share of softwood fiber in the market. This means more mills domestically sourcing products and less reliance on unstable imports.

Global Wood Trade and Pricing Data with WoodMarket Prices

This post comes from Wood Resource Quarterly (WRQ), a regular publication from ResourceWise's Wood Resources International.

WRQ is now available as an interactive online business intelligence platform, WoodMarket Prices (WMP). WMP tracks trade data for wood chips, market pulp, and pellets alongside price tracking and other wood market developments in most key regions worldwide.

Users can quickly find specified trade and pricing information relevant to their particular business and region. This information will improve strategic decision-making and planning in a potentially volatile global marketplace.

Schedule a demo today to see how WoodMarket Prices can benefit your bottom line.

Schedule a Demo

Example image of Fisher's market optimizer module.

Is Your Company Positioned for Profitability as We Sit in Economic Uncertainty?

The economic calamity of the last three years has been painful in many respects. Businesses worldwide have undergone serious stress and we’ve all...

Read More
ISM industrial activity metrics for January 2023.

Plunge in Forest Product Price Index as Production Holds Steady

Forest2Market, a ResourceWise company, continually monitors the changing economic conditions impacting the forestry industry. Production seems to be...

Read More
Rolling inclines of a pine forest enveloped by a wildfire with smoke billowing into the sky.

Clearing the Air on Forest Thinning

Like all of us paying attention to the forestry industry, you have likely seen the continued onslaught of headlines discussing the rising wave of...

Read More