EOS General Assembly, Oslo 15 June 2018

On 15 June 2018 the European Organisation of the Sawmill Industry (EOS) held its Summer General Assembly in Oslo. The event was hosted by the EOS Member Treindustrien (Norwegian Wood Industry Federation). It was preceded by the Moelven’ sawmill tour, one of the largest wood processing Groups. The sawmills in Moelven are organized in two divisions, Moelven Timber and Moelven Wood, the latter mainly producing further processed goods for the Scandinavian markets. Moelven`s mills are, with a few exceptions, located in the middle of Sweden and in the south-east of Norway. The Group employs more than 3,400 people.

During this General Assembly, the 2017/2018 edition of the EOS Annual Report was presented. The latest edition of the Report includes a comprehensive review of the woodworking industries markets – with a strong emphasis on the sawnwood markets – as well as a report on the EOS advocacy activities at European level. It also contains a section about the high-level conferences co-organized by EOS in 2017, namely the International Softwood Conference and the International Hardwood Conference.

As far as the softwood market is concerned, the picture is overall rosy: a dynamic construction sector in Europe and lively demand in relevant importers such as the US and China underpinned the strong performance of many businesses. The exceptions were all linked to challenges in wood supply. Some countries also raised awareness on difficulties connected to the oversupply of by-products in the market. Conversely, while there is higher demand compared to previous years also in the hardwood markets, the hardwood sector’s production is not growing, which is mainly due to a shortage of raw materials in many important producer countries. The flight of roundwood to faraway countries represents a challenge for the whole sector, which needs appropriate solutions in order to remain strong on the market.

On occasion of the General Assembly, EOS Members adopted the PRIORITY ACTIONS’ LIST FOR FORESTS AND WOOD PRODUCTS. As integrated part of the bio-economy, the forest-based sector can play a significant role in decarbonizing the economy if governments seize the opportunity to increase the use of wood products in construction and as “every day” materials. In the framework of the ongoing mid-term revision of the EU Forest Strategy, EOS calls for coherent actions to boost the competitiveness of the sawmill industries. Wood mobilisation is recognised as one of the most significant challenges facing the forest sector over the coming decade. For this reason, it is about realising expected increases in wood supply and meeting rising demands for wood resources from all major end users, in an efficient and cost-effective manner.

Two external speakers gave a presentation, respectively on “Changes in Harmonised System Code 2022 with Focus on Engineered Wood Products” (Florian Steierer, Economic Affairs Officer, UNECE/FAO Forestry and Timber Section) and “Research and Innovation” (Johan Elvnert Managing Director of the Forest-based Sector Technology Platform – FTP). Mr Steierer presented the revision process of the Harmonized System, which is an internationally standardized system of names and numbers to classify traded products. He showed that from 2022 high-potential engineered wood products will very probably have their own lines in the Harmonized System, which is important to track their growth. Mr Elvnert showed that within FTP, the European forest-based sector finds a dedicated platform to provide a coordinated and bottom-up contribution to the most important funding programmes. In the framework of HORIZON 2020, a direct financial support is provided to SMEs that intend to increase their innovation capacity. 

The next EOS General Assembly will be held on 12 October 2018, in the framework of the 66th INTERNATIONAL SOFTWOOD CONFERENCE on 10TH-12TH OCTOBER 2018, in Riga, Latvia. For registration and information, please visit the official website: http://www.ettf.info/ISC2018

An electronic copy of the 2017/2018 edition of the “EOS Annual Report” and/or the “Priority actions’ list for forests and wood products” can be requested contacting the EOS secretariat at info@eos-oes.eu

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