Timber processors in Southeastern Estonia are looking into procuring timber and sawn timber from Belarus. Even though raw material is cheaper in Belarus compared to Estonia, the country's political situations makes trade difficult.
CEO of AS Barrus Marti Kork went on a tour of the industry in Belarus to try and find his company the necessary raw material.
"Looking to the future, we are going to need a bit more material, especially sawn timber. Belarus seems interesting because Estonians – Kaamos Timber, for example, has been active there for 20 years. The quality of timber is good and the prices better than in Estonia," Kork said.
The delegation visited four or five sawmills in Belarus to try and secure material for AS Barrus' factories.
"In some places, what we saw was how Estonia looked 20 years ago, maybe more. We were a few decades late in others. There was nothing left. They also have major sawmills there, but our short visit did not afford us the time to go everywhere," Kork said.
The CEO admitted that dealing with Belarus is complicated by the political situation in the country.
"Sale of raw materials takes place on the exchange there, which complicates matters. We will not linger on the political situation in Belarus. There is uncertainty there, meaning that we are not willing to invest. However, we remain open to buying from there if we can find the right partner. We buy very small quantities from Belarus today," Kork said.
Executive manager of the Estonian Forest and Timber Industry Association Hendrik Välja said that companies in Southeastern Estonia are relatively well off today because the area has enough forests and is also seeing sawn timber from northern Latvia.
"Estonia's increasingly mild winters that make felling difficult are one challenge the sector faces. This is reflected in the price of roundwood being one of the highest in the region in Estonia, which seems to be a rather permanent situation," Välja said.
Editor: Marcus Turovski