MINSK, 21 May (BelTA) – Export by the Belarusian timber industry has been doubled since 2015, BelTA learned from Chairman of the Belarusian timber, woodworking, pulp and paper industry concern Bellesbumprom Mikhail Kasko.
The official pointed out the economic effect brought about by the modernization of woodworking enterprises. The amount of commercial timber processed in Belarus every year has increased since 2015 up to 15.7 million m3 (about 10 million m3 prior to modernization). Timber industry export has been doubled to reach $2.3 billion, with the industry's share in Belarus' total export up by 60% -- from 4.3% to 6.9%. The export of wood-based panels has doubled to reach $529 million. The export of furniture has increased by 70% to $572 million. The export of pulp and paper industry products has increased by 120% to $268 million.
Thanks to growing output and export figures the timber industry's contribution to the country's GDP rose from 2.4% in 2015 to nearly 4.6% in 2019. Thanks to state support Belarusian timber industry enterprises managed to increase the number of employees by over 2,300 in the last five years. Bellesbumprom's average salary in 2019 was close to Br940, 41.2% up from 2015.
In the last few years Bellesbumprom enterprises managed to expand the geography of export, including thanks to retooling and thanks to efforts to improve the quality of merchandise. Bellesbumprom products were exported to 69 countries in 2019. Bellesbumprom gradually expands its presence in China, Iran, Hungary, Czechia, Serbia, Italy, Croatia and penetrates new markets, including Vietnam, Ghana, Iraq, Indonesia, and the Philippines. On the whole, Bellesbumprom has managed to evenly split exports among the Eurasian Economic Union (34.8%), the European Union (35.4%), and distant-arc countries (29.8%).
Bellesbumprom enterprises export about 70% of their total output. The top sellers are wood-based panels (27.8%), furniture (21%), paper and pasteboard (14.7%), plywood (11%), and cellulose (9.1%). The export structure will change in 2020. The share of cellulose will grow much larger since Bellesbumprom intends to export more than $100 million worth of cellulose. The geography of cellulose export is expanding as well. Apart from China and Russia Bellesbumprom has started shipping cellulose to Italy, Turkey, Japan, and Pakistan. The bulk of Belarusian cellulose will be exported to China. “It is a stable and promising market. We should secure our position on it,” Mikhail Kasko stressed.
Bellesbumprom works hard to expand the availability of their products on the home market. In the last five years the output of import substitutes has been more than doubled to reach Br1.9 billion. These products saved over $570 million in foreign currency in 2015-2019.