Conference: Russia’s timber and sawn wood market

Date: September 16–17, 2020

Russia’s timber industry amid pandemic and bark beetle invasion: conference in Moscow

MAXConference held the first conference in a mixed mode of offline and online participation after a long period of isolation caused by the pandemic. This year's event «Russia’s timber and sawn wood market» brought together the most caring and courageous representatives of the country's timber industry. Online broadcasting has allowed speakers from abroad, as well as Russia’s Far East to submit their presentations.

Special attention was paid to the analysis of the situation in domestic forest sector, and, first of all, how the pandemic affected the development of the industry, how it affected exports. The discussion was opened by the marketing director of Segezha group, the largest Russian lumber producer. The expert presented the company's figures and assessment of the current situation, noting a decrease in production and exports, as well as an increase in prices.

StepChange Consulting experts spoke about trends in the industry, drawing a global picture of production and consumption in the world. Their colleague from the Finnish Natural resources Institute focused on the upcoming risks for the industry, namely, the invasion of bark beetles and climate change, often caused by fires. Experts from EOS, AFRY Management Consulting and managing director of the Egyptian Elshal Timber, Lesprom Network presented their vision and forecasts of the situation in Europe and the world in the timber industry.

The special session of the conference was dedicated to the Chinese market, timber supplies to this country, and competition with European suppliers. China remains the most promising market for Russian timber traders. The Russian export center offered its assistance in organizing deliveries. The representative of the center told about the work carried out by its specialists and what support domestic exporters can count on.

The Chinese market itself was discussed by both Russian companies represented by a major manufacturer Ilim Timber, which have been working there for a long time, and Chinese experts. The President of China Willwood made an analysis of the softwood market in China: where and how coniferous and deciduous wood is in demand. Representatives of Vladvneshservice and the Primorye Association of timber producers and exporters, as well as the Agency of the Far East for attracting investment and supporting exports, gave an assessment of the situation in the timber industry in the areas bordering China. Experts from Russian Railways RZD and Transles added to the picture of timber and lumber transportation to China.

The audience of the conference was seriously concerned about the problems of pricing and providing wood processing enterprises with raw materials. A representative of the SPIMEX told in details about how timber is traded on the Russian stock exchange. Earlier, his colleague from Minsk explained the advantages of the Belarusian universal exchange in timber trading. At the same time, timber buyers, represented by IKEA and Arkhangelsk pulp and paper mill, shared their problems related to raw materials, quality and pricing policy. Sudoma director told about premium construction materials produced in Russia and competition in world markets.

The second day of the conference was devoted to the key issues of the forest industry: the legislative framework and transport services. One of the deputy heads of the Federal forestry Agency told about the main directions of changing the legislation. The representative of Rosinforg elaborated on the state timber tracking system: an urgent problem in Russia for preventing fraud and gray schemes. The topic was continued by the management of Lesexpert, who presented the requirements for sorting wood products. Topical issues of forest management were also presented in the speech of the head of the Insight Project company.

Representatives of Russia’s VEB bank and EY spoke about the specifics of financial implementation of timber industry projects, legal, tax and environmental aspects of investment regimes of SPIC and NWPC. The transport and logistics session has traditionally attracted the attention of all participants who face problems in ensuring cargo transportation in their daily work. The leading players in domestic transportation market have participated in the discussion about timber cargo transportation issues: FESCO, United wagon company, SVEZA logistics unit, Russian Railways, NOVA-bulker services, and Morstroytechnologies.

We look forward to continuing our meeting on this topic next year.