Planks instead of logs

Forestry industry focuses on export of processed timber

By Denis Mironenko

Processed timber should bring in more revenue than sales of logs. According to the Belarusian Forestry Industry, 2m cubic metres are annually sold abroad, with all timber expected to be processed internally by 2015. To achieve this goal, Bellesbumprom Concern is currently constructing eight factories, specialising in manufacturing woodfibre, chipboard and fibreboard, as well as cellulose, pellets and briquettes. “As a result, we’ll receive export-oriented goods, boasting higher value added,” explains Belarus’ Forestry Minister, Mikhail Amelyanovich. “Over the last 2-3 years, we’ve technically modernised over 70 wood processing facilities, while launching production of new goods: flat-cut, wood mouldings, ready-made parallel bars and sawn timber.”

The industry plans to raise revenue from the sale of by-products abroad, including seeds, seedlings and plants, frozen berries and honey. In 2010, export of forestry goods and services almost doubled, to reach $106m. Over the first three months of 2011, this figure rose to $30m — up 1.5-fold on the same period of the previous year.

The volume of investments into the forestry industry has increased since early this year, with money injected into timber cutting. The purchase of highly efficient equipment for onward development of wood cutting is a priority. The Forestry Ministry plans that, in five years’ time, each region will have its own joint timber cutting enterprise, boasting capital from individual entrepreneurs and foreign partners. The total amount cut will stand at 2m cubic metres of timber.

The Ministry is also investing in the creation of joint ventures, manufacturing fuel from wood chips in those regions where greatest demand exists: primarily the Vitebsk and Gomel regions. The establishment of a fuel pellet factory in the Polotsk District is currently being discussed with a Swedish company; annual capacity could reach almost 44,000 tonnes.

A joint company is also planned for the Smorgon District, attracting capital from the international Kronospan Corporation. Its manufactures will include woodfibre, fibreboard and cellulose. The task of the forestries is to supply raw materials. Meanwhile, Austrian Egger Company plans the manufacture of laminated wood boards in the Minsk Region’s Borisov District, aiming for a capacity of 700,000 cubic metres.

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