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Executive Director’s Report – June 2023


Roy Southey - Executive Director: Sawmilling South Africa

June has been a particularly busy month for Sawmilling South Africa and its members, and in this issue, we can report back on our Executive Management Meeting, the Annual General Meeting (AGM) and the 2023 edition of WoodEX for Africa.

The AGM was held on 7 June at the University of Pretoria’s Engineering 4.0 facility and attracted no fewer than 38 delegates representing sawmillers, government and service providers.

The keynote address, delivered by Michael Peter, executive director of Forestry South Africa, was both insightful and informative.

Michael, who is our sector representative on the Public and Private Growth Initiative, brought us up to speed on developments concerning a number of very important issues. You can read his address here. These range from port congestion, rail inefficiencies, road infrastructure, and of course, the current situation concerning electricity supply and load shedding.

A noteworthy contribution to our AGM was presented by Thomas Craddock, recently returned from a six-month study tour spent with Wespine in Australia. He was able to share with the gathering his personal impressions of the Australian market and the Wespine operation. You can watch his presentation here.

Turning to WoodEX for Africa 2023, this year’s attendance figures were greatly increased thanks to the introduction of a construction element to the exposition format.

An interesting aspect of the exhibition was the participation of a large number of Russian companies who were exhibiting a wide range of product offerings, from sawn board to cross laminated timber. While we have come to expect the presence of Chinese producers, this is certainly a new departure in terms of competition from overseas sources. We have, in the past, kept a watching brief on softwood timer being imported from other African countries but it would seem that we have to be aware of another potential player in the domestic marketplace. It seems unlikely that they would be competitive, however we don’t have knowledge of their input cost structure.

Another telling aspect of the exhibition was the decline in presence of European wood working equipment suppliers; maybe they know more about our sector than we think!

Well, that’s it for another month so until next time, please keep cutting straight and drying flat.

Roy Southey
Executive Director: Sawmilling South Africa

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industry news,Newsletter,Sawmilling,Sawmilling South Africa

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