At the autumn meeting of the Swedish forestry export cooperation association Fortec, member companies agreed that the market for forest equipment suppliers is now somewhat tentative and has levelled off after rising strongly. The development and sales of environmentally related technology are increasing and the issue of ground damage continues to be topical.
Suppliers of forest machinery and equipment say their overall impression of the market is that it is now levelling off after a strong upswing. Some markets continue to do well while others are more cautious. The same holds true for various product groups.
The meeting discussed the problems caused by a highly volatile market. Both the manufacturers and their suppliers are finding it difficult to adapt their production quickly enough to market ups and downs. This problem was particularly obvious during the latest upturn. Despite ongoing efforts to find solutions that can mitigate the effects of rapid market swings, this appears to be a problem that the industry must learn to live with.
More stringent environmental legislation in other countries has increased the demand for products that comply with these new requirements. Here Swedish manufacturers and suppliers are well positioned, for example with regard to equipment for the handling and storage of fuels and oils.
Ground damage in conjunction with felling is always an issue. Large resources have been and are being invested to develop machinery and equipment that minimise this damage. Increased knowledge about the problems of ground damage and their effects is important for both equipment operators and landowners.
Fortec’s autumn meeting also discussed the biofuel market in Sweden and the rest of the European Union. In Sweden forest biofuels are already widely used to produce heat, but their use is also increasing for combined heat and power production. With a few exceptions, biofuel use outside Sweden is far less but environmental commitments within the EU should lead to an increase. This trend is reflected by the growing number of enquiries being made to Swedish manufacturers of equipment for the processing and handling of solid forest fuels.
Fortec, Swedish Forestry Technology Group, is a competition-neutral association of suppliers of products and services to the global forestry sector. The group promotes Swedish companies’ exports to both existing and expanding new markets. Fortec meets twice a year. The meetings discuss such topics as current forestry issues and the existing market for forest industry suppliers of products and services.