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Wood shortage and the consequences

The corona pandemic has an impact on almost all areas - often even on those that are not directly visible at first.

As a food supplier, we are noticing these effects in various places. For example, there has been an enormous price increase, especially in the areas of cardboard packaging and pallets. The reason for this is the shortage of wood - and this is, of course, corona-related. Many people now have more time and undertake smaller building measures in their homes. Whether a small wooden garden shed, a new shelf or a bicycle shelter, wood is a popular building material. In addition still the current building boom comes, because ever more humans wish themselves a home of their own. Since March the wood price doubled, the prices for roof battens even tripled. The bark beetle infestation occurring in Germany is further exacerbating the situation.

But the demand for wood has also increased worldwide. According to the Federal Association of the German Sawmill and Timber Industry, around 20 million solid cubic meters of sawn timber and roundwood were exported in 2020 - that's an increase of over 80 percent compared to the previous year! More than half of the wood masses were delivered to China, where the already existing construction boom has once again intensified after the pandemic, which has now subsided. The USA is also a major customer, because there the supply from Canada is not as guaranteed as usual. This is due to forest fires and the punitive tariffs imposed by former President Trump.

Another, somewhat surprising reason is to be found in consumer behavior. Consumers now frequently buy not just individual milk or apple juice cartons but entire stacks. These are also made of cardboard, and the food retailer is therefore unable to return the paper raw material to the recycling chain. Unfortunately, the cardboard is often not taken to the cardboard containers by the end consumer and is also not thrown into the blue garbage can. Often it simply ends up in the household waste. Thus, the raw material is missing in the end and can therefore not be recycled.

Last but not least, online retail is enjoying record sales - but there, too, the most important commodity is cardboard packaging. However, the prices for this are rising exorbitantly and there is also less and less raw material available. An unfavorable combination!

Our bread and roll cartons as well as Euro pallets are of course directly affected by this situation. In order to at least counteract the shortage of cartons, we are pursuing a dual-sourcing strategy and therefore started looking around for another supplier some time ago. This supplier has its own paper mills and is therefore independent of raw material suppliers.

Orders are already being placed in parallel so that we can build up a stock in our warehouse. Because without bread boxes we would no longer be able to deliver and both we and you as a customer would feel the consequences immediately. We would like to avoid this at all costs.

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