According to provisional figures released by the European Panel Federation (EPF) at the Interzum fair in Cologne, European wood-based panels production fell by more than 6% in 2022. The decrease compared to 2021 was communicated by EPF managing director Clive Pinnington and technical director Kris Wijnendaele. This news has caused concern among the industry experts as it indicates a downward trend in the wood-based panels sector.
When final numbers are released in June at the EPF’s AGM in Spain, the 2022 production rate is expected to finish at approximately the same level as the pre-crisis year of 2019. This means that the industry has not yet fully recovered from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has caused significant disruption in the supply chain, resulting in a shortage of raw materials and increased production costs. Moreover, the pandemic has also affected the demand for wood-based panels, leading to a decline in sales.
“2022 was a year characterised by a relatively strong first half, followed by a noticeably weaker second half,” said Kris Wijnendaele, technical director of EPF. He added, “The decline in production can be attributed to several factors, including the impact of the pandemic, supply chain disruptions, and the shortage of raw materials.”
The decline in production has been observed in several countries across Europe, including Germany, France, Italy, and Spain. These countries are major producers of wood-based panels in Europe. The decline in production has also affected the employment rate in the industry, with many companies forced to lay off workers due to reduced demand.
The wood-based panels industry is a vital sector in Europe, providing employment to thousands of people and contributing significantly to the economy. The industry produces a wide range of products, including particleboard, MDF, OSB, and plywood, which are used in various applications such as furniture, construction, and packaging.
The decline in production is a cause for concern for the industry, as it indicates a slowdown in economic activity. The EPF has called for measures to be taken to support the industry and ensure its sustainability. These measures include investment in research and development, the promotion of sustainable forestry practices, and the development of new markets.
In conclusion, the decline in European wood-based panels production is a worrying trend for the industry. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain disruptions, and the shortage of raw materials have all contributed to the decline in production. The industry needs to take measures to address these challenges and ensure its sustainability in the long term. The EPF has called for support from policymakers and stakeholders to help the industry recover from the impact of the pandemic and ensure its continued growth.