Difficulties ahead for Russian logging industry
WOOD MARKETS successfully wrapped up its seventh international tour of Russia’s forest industry on 16 September 2012. Some key issues identified during the tour included:
• Logging in Russia is in trouble. Costs are rising rapidly and good timberland is getting further away from the mills and major transportation networks. The government is not investing in the expansion of a transportation infrastructure for the forest industry. Logging revenue is seriously impaired due to the lack of a market for coniferous pulp logs and all deciduous timber (except high-quality deciduous export logs).
• Large harvesting companies have made major capital investments into mechanized harvesting systems to replace high-cost, inefficient, manual labour. Operation of state-of-the-art logging equipment is a test for minimal Russian preventative maintenance practices and very cold winter operating conditions.
• The impact of the new log export tax is uncertain at this time. The process is very slow, and the quota allocation procedure is cloaked in secrecy.
• Russian investment in new and modernized sawmills in Siberia is impressive. Still, it remains a question/concern how well Russians can operate these new mills on their own.
• The quality of red pine, larch and spruce saw logs in Siberia is very good: likely the best-quality softwood sawlogs in the world.
WOOD MARKETS is publishing a new report on the Russian Wood Products Industry which will be available in March 2013.
Source: International Wood Markets Group, www.woodmarkets.com