Softwood timber sales down 6.5% in 2021

Sales of locally produced sawn softwood products declined 6.5% in 2021, compared with 2020, slipping back to 2.916 million m3 as the processing of fire-damaged salvage logs comes to an end. Underscoring the challenges that could create in future, sales in December fell almost 53,000 m3 or 19% compared to the prior month.

The chart here shows the variability of supply month-by-month over the last year as local producers have done all within their capacity to match supply to burgeoning demand. Lockdowns, isolations, quarantine, logistics constraints and basic challenges accessing sufficient resources (not just logs!) have all made for a turbulent year.


To go straight to the dashboard and take a closer look at the data, click here.


At a grade level, the data demonstrates the emphasis on Structural products has continued, but the balance has swung decisively to the Treated Structural grades. A 9.7% (63,000 m3) increase in sales of Treated Structural <120 mm offset some of the decline in supply of the untreated Structural <120 mm, sales of which fell 15.7% (115,000 m3).

Landscaping and Pole grades both saw sales fall a very large 28% as available logs were prioritised for mainly higher-value utilisation.

The chart here shows the year-on-year differences.


To go straight to the dashboard and take a closer look at the data, click here.


A long-standing reality of the Australian market for sawn timber has materialised over the pandemic – Australia is very reliant on imported supply, and that must continue until such time as there are sufficient plantations and processing to bridge at least some of the gap.