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Planning Your Way Around The UK Timber Shortage

Container shortages and freight issues have become the new normal for businesses worldwide. The coronavirus pandemic has had a big impact on the UK’s timber industry. Forward planning is now vital.

The UK has seen a serious shortage of Timber during the global pandemic. This will ultimately have a knock-on effect lasting until the end of 2021. 

In previous years, timber supplies have been readily available, with quieter periods used to rebuild stocks. However, the current shortage supersedes any before-seen situations. The coronavirus outbreak has affected every step of the supply chain, including transportation. Due to this shortage, many companies now find themselves in a difficult situation. Many are losing money and trading in an industry that is experiencing global storage. Some, unfortunately, face closure. Planning ahead is vital for those wishing to get their hands on timber. 


Shipping is at breaking point

Shipping continues to be a huge hurdle in the supply chain. As container shipping lines are struggling to maintain their service levels. Last year saw a collapse in overall consumer demand as many non-essential shops had to close stores. Many retailers and suppliers requested a delay for cargo in transit. This has now changed. As we approach peak trading, demand for containers and space on freight ships has rebounded. Along with an increase in demand for ‘lockdown’ essentials e.g. home exercise equipment. This is pushing maritime supply chains to breaking point.


Airfreight price increases

Airfreight capacity is another issue. As passenger flights have been halted during the pandemic, and passenger flights carry most air freight. Freight forwarders across the world have pushed up the prices because of a huge increase in ocean and air freight rates. In some cases, prices have quadrupled. A container pre-march 2020 may have cost $2,500 to ship from East Asia to Europe. This same container could now cost as much as $16,000, and that’s assuming there is a container available to book.


Increased demand through DIY

Returning timber stock levels to their previous numbers has proven difficult. As many UK households have completed DIY and garden projects during their time at home. With money set aside for a summer holiday is now used to buy fence panels. But the timber market doesn’t find itself alone. Paving slabs, plaster, and cement have also seen low stock levels unlike before.

Think Timber will continue to supply quality and cost-effective timber. We also aim to educate others on wider issues affecting our industry. 

Get in touch to discuss the UK timber shortage at


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