UK Timber Shortage

Treetops in sky
26 May 2021

The UK is currently seeing a serious shortage of timber due to global demand. As a result, we are experiencing unprecedented delays in the material supply chain.

Issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, combined with changes in market dynamics and high international demand for timber and wood products have culminated in the present situation.

Many European sawmills were temporarily shut during the early stages of the pandemic, whilst lockdowns simultaneously caused a surge in demand for timber for DIY, home and garden projects. This began to impact supplies to Britain’s construction sector. Additional demand for timber across Europe and the USA has also affected the amount of material available in normally well-stocked markets like the British builders’ merchant sector.

With demand for timber products still extremely high, sawmills have been unable to catch up and rebuild their stock levels, and so importers have been unable to replenish stock in the UK. As a result, UK-based buyers have been prevented from rebuilding their stock since the beginning of the pandemic. COVID-19 is still causing disruption to supply chains, with restrictions still in place in several countries. The Brexit transition period is also adding pressure to import logistics and supplies, with huge competition across all sectors for road haulage capacity in the UK, alongside potential tax changes and cost increases.

Whilst our entire team is working hard to fulfil orders, inevitably the timber shortage is affecting our lead times and there may be a delay in the delivery of some orders. For any new orders, we would advise a lead time of 4 weeks. We will, of course, continue to update customers as the situation changes.

We appreciate your patience and understanding during this period of disruption.