Logistics is most pressing issue for timber trade due to new Brexit protocols, finds survey

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24th March 2021 12:06 - Transport and Distribution

Logistics is most pressing issue for timber trade due to new Brexit protocols: A survey of UK Timber Trade Federation members has found that new Brexit protocols are causing logistical difficulties, meaning supply chains that were already stretched are being impacted even further.

The survey polled 36 member companies representing timber importers, merchants, agents, and manufacturers in January and February this year.

However, despite the difficulties, the survey found that TTF members are handling the changes due to Brexit, well, with the timber trade showing resilience and rebounding during the pandemic to levels not seen in decades due to huge demand for products.

Main challenges faced

Asked what the main challenges are to their business in the current climate, logistics came top, with members citing a lack of haulage vehicles, inflated costs and a hesitancy by hauliers to import and export goods in and out of the UK, resulting in a slowdown in trade. The report highlights that it is difficult to ascertain whether impacts to the freight industry are as a result of Brexit or the pandemic, however respondents to the survey said they believe Brexit has made issues worse.

When asked which products have been affected by logistical challenges when importing from the EU, two thirds (66%) said softwood, while around one in seven (16%) have seen hardwood imports affected as well as panel products (16%). When asked the same question about exporting from the EU, 66% said softwood, while 33% said hardwood and no respondents reported facing any issues when exporting panel products (o%).

The second most concerning issue found the poll is the Northern Ireland Protocol, which 45% of companies supplying the NI market believe is impacting their ability to do so. More than half the respondents polled (55%), however reported no issues with transporting goods to and from Northern Ireland.

David Hopkins, the CEO of TTF said: On the whole, this survey shows that our members are coping well with the changes brought about by Brexit. But, the new trade restrictions have come at a time when the market is experiencing unparalleled challenges as a result of the COVID pandemic".

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