Brexit and COVID squeeze prices and availability across UK

“Despite the twin threats of COVID and Brexit, Quercus still has a wide range of attractive timbers in stock”

Earlier this month, the Timber Packaging and Pallet Confederation (TIMCON) sent out a warning: the UK will see unprecedented prices and reduced availability of raw materials until at least mid-2021. Independent index Afry confirms this trend, showing the price of UK-grown pallet timber increasing 13.2% in the fourth quarter of 2020, and 4.4% between December 2020 and January 2021. And it’s not just pallet timber that’s getting more expensive – other categories of timber are going up in price as availability decreases.

By now, no one will be surprised at what’s driving this trend. UK importers are struggling to adjust to the new rules that govern UK-EU trade post-Brexit, and at least some of the costs incurred at the border are being passed on to industry. This is being compounded by a pandemic which has shelved workforces, and even entire industries, and profoundly affected global supply chains.

We are currently battling a wide range of disruptions, including delays in ports, worldwide shortage of shipping containers, and delays in the issuance of felling licenses in Ireland. Against all the odds, however, Quercus still has a wide variety of timber in stock. However, we would recommend customers who know what they’ll need over the next few months don’t wait to get in touch – over the next few months, we expect availability to continue descending, and price to continue ascending.

In TIMCON’s latest statement, secretary-general Stuart Hex said: “The unprecedented market conditions we reported on towards the end of last year have continued to put pressure on businesses of all kinds. The imbalance in trade across the world, caused by the uneven regional impact of the pandemic has pushed availability down and prices up in many areas, and the new post-Brexit environment has added new layers of complexity and cost.”

If you want to make sure you have the right materials for your next job, we suggest you get in touch as soon as possible. You can reach us on 0845 50 50 311, where we’ll be happy to talk through your needs.