According to a recent report from Wood Resources International, the forest products industry has been surprisingly resilient during the COVID-19 pandemic. The coronavirus has negatively impacted the supply chains of several industry sectors across the globe over the past few months. A lot of commodity products saw reduced trade in March and April. Reduced demand for these products, the closing of facilities to protect workers, and the handling capacity of goods at many ports have all led to widespread financial distress.
But one sector has stayed strong—the forest products sector. The demand for toilet paper, disinfecting wipes, wood products for home renovations, corrugated paper for cardboard boxes, and face masks are just a few examples of pulp and paper products that have been in very high demand. In March, or what’s considered the first month of the pandemic, the global trade of wood chips, logs, pulp, and lumber increased from February.
The Pulp and Paper Industry is Seeing Increased Demand
Brazil, Chile, and the United States increased their shipments between 12% and 26% in March month-over-month. These three are some of the largest pulp-exporting countries in the world. In addition to these increases, the five top importing countries purchased more pulp in March than they did in February. China and South Korea increased their volumes the most, by 40% and 29%, respectively.
China increased its imports of softwood logs by 14% month-over-month. Most of these added logs originated from New Zealand, Germany, and Russia. In addition, log imports to South Korea rose 19%. Australia and Canada both sipped about 70% more logs in March than they did in February of this year.
Lumber shipments from New Zealand and Canada were up 32% and 25% (month-or-month), respectively, in March. In fact, lumber importation was up in most of the major markets in March, including China, who increased 59% month-over-month. The United States was up 13%, and Japan was up 10%.
China, South Korea, and Portugal all imported more chips for their pulp industries in March than they did in February. Most major chip-exporting countries—like Australia, Thailand, South Africa, and Brazil—shipped more chips in March.
In the next few months, several countries are planning on easing their lockdown policies. They’re also planning to loosen the rules surrounding house construction, international commerce, and consumer shopping. These adjustments could significantly benefit the forest industry sector—even further.
Are you looking to come out of this global pandemic ahead of the game? Talk to us today about your maintenance needs, and we’ll make sure your facility is running as efficiently as possible.