Wood industry: Banks are afraid that companies will lose access to raw materials

Luc Williams

At the beginning of January this year. the management of the Ministry of Climate and Environment decided to temporarily – for half a year – limit or suspend logging in 10 areas (Bieszczady, Puszcza Borecka, Puszcza Świętokrzyska, Puszcza Augustowska, Puszcza Knyszyńska, Puszcza Karpacka, Puszcza Romincka, Tricity Landscape Park, as well as in the vicinity of Iwonicz- Zdrój and Wrocław). Climate Minister Paulina Hennig-Kloska then indicated that this was an emergency measure, and the ministry was working on a systemic solution that would include more areas subject to suspension or limitation of logging.

On Thursday, the Parliamentary Committee for Environmental Protection, Natural Resources and Forestry considered information from the Minister of Climate and Environment on the current situation on the wood market in Poland. During the committee meeting, Deputy Minister of Climate and Environment Mikołaj Dorożała assured that the government recognizes the problems of the wood industry. He also drew attention to the “inflow of dumped goods from Ukraine.” “We are having a meeting on this matter at the Ministry of Development and Technology next Friday. I have invited representatives of the General Directorate of State Forests,” he announced. He also pointed to the problem of lack of FSC certification for wood, which is reported by wood processing companies, which prevents its export to Western markets. “There will be a meeting at the end of February on this matter,” Dorożała added. He also informed that talks were also held on limiting wood burning in industrial energy, which affects wood prices.

PiS MP Dariusz Piontkowski asked Deputy Minister Dorozała whether the government currently offers financial assistance to companies in the wood industry that are at risk of trouble or bankruptcy. “We are doing everything to ensure that companies can run their businesses. If (…) someone is injured, we will work on financial support models,” Dorożała said.

Piotr Levelski, representing the Polish Chamber of Commerce for the Wood Industry, pointed out that the restriction on obtaining wood from forests “came into force without any announcement or dialogue with the industry and the consequences have already occurred.” He pointed out that banks, in talks with companies from the wood industry, are already raising the risk of excluding forests from use. He added that banks are afraid that companies will not have access to raw materials. “The banks are already talking about it: you are not safe partners for us,” said Levelski.

“We are left with a situation in which companies and people are already out of work or are in the last weeks (…) of running a business,” Levelis warned. “Until today, no one has received information on how the Polish government (…) is able to help the wood industry and wood service companies,” he said.

“This is 48 percent of the most valuable land…”

Deputy Minister Dorożała emphasized that the “moratorium” on logging will cover 94,000. hectares of forests. “This is 48% of the most valuable areas where this economy has been excluded, and 50% – limited,” he explained. He admitted that he had received 9 demands from the timber industry, 8 of which he approved. “Only one thing – +moratorium+ – is on the table, but we are talking about how to manage this process so that these entrepreneurs do not feel this certain uncertainty,” he noted.

The deputy minister assured that the planned 20 percent area of ​​forests excluded from logging is a “conventional slogan”. “We have to make some assumptions, but we will jointly claim this 20% within these three points: the social function of forests, the natural function and the economic function,” Dorożała pointed out, pointing out that it is about achieving a certain balance.

In his opinion, the wood industry is currently in a very difficult economic situation. “This is due to the very strong, unprecedented slumps in the Western European markets. We are unable to sell there in quantities that would allow us to maintain production,” said Levelski. He admitted that Polish companies have lost their competitiveness on these markets. As he added, the euro exchange rate is unfavorable for Polish producers.

“This excludes part of the industry…”

Wielorzski informed that these problems are compounded by imports at dumped prices from Ukraine. “This excludes part of the industry, especially the packaging industry (wooden packaging, e.g. pallets – PAP), from the market because we are not able to compete here,” he noted. He also noted that the industry is already starting to feel the increase in energy prices. “Some companies are running out of long-term contracts, so prices have increased dramatically. These are increases in the hundreds of percent.” – said Wieloski. He gave the example of one company that paid electricity invoices amounting to PLN 28,000. PLN, and now the current invoice is PLN 68,000. zloty.

He also drew attention to the unfavorable system of wood sales by the State Forests for the wood industry, which – as he assessed – artificially creates a “supply to demand ratio”. “This artificial interference is carried out by the monopolist. It speaks for itself, what are the consequences of this” – pointed out Ziemiski.

According to the coalition agreement between the ruling parties, 20 percent forests in Poland should be excluded from timber harvesting. Work on increasing protection areas is also carried out in the EU (forest strategy and European biodiversity strategy). (PAP)


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