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UK / Sweden: New buzzword for Swedish sawmills will increase competitiveness

Picture Caption: Sawmillers meet KDM and TIMBERWeb staff

A new buzzword for the European timber industry has been introduced to UK importers by leading Swedish sawmillers, which they believe will give Swedish companies a key advantage over rivals.

During a meeting with KDM International PLC and TIMBERWeb on Friday, representatives from eight sawmill groups told how 'streamlining' - the focusing of sawmills within groups on specialist items - could transform operations when coupled with improved services such as 'Pick a Pack' direct from a mill.

The sawmillers were part of a delegation from F-U-T Foreningen Unga Tramanniskor, the Association of Young Timber People in Sweden. They represented mills with a total annual production of 1.5 million cubic metres per annum.

In discussions with KDM's joint managing directors John Grave and Andrew Walshe, it was anticipated that a further consolidation of mills would take place in Sweden in future.

The sawmillers also recognised the need for Swedish companies to take a more active role in using the Internet to promote their products and supply timber - particularly in view of increasing competition from the Baltic states and Russia. TIMBERWeb staff demonstrated that Russian suppliers were more active on TIMBERWeb's eMarket than Swedish sawmills, which was likely to gradually impact on Swedish market share within the UK and other markets.

Keith Richmond, Chairman and CEO of both KDM and TIMBERWeb, said: "Swedish mills need to participate more on TIMBERWeb since they have a natural synergy with the UK trade and since the arrival of 'King Sven' on the English football scene, the profile of Sweden has reached almost 'brother' status, a subjective advantage that should not be missed."

At the close of discussions held at KDM's headquarters in Kesgrave, Suffolk, association representative Kenny Karlsson thanked KDM and TIMBERWeb and presented a cedar shelf to Mr Richmond.

As an aside, Mr Karlsson said unfortunately Mr Grave did not quite qualify for association membership. To qualify for the F-U-T you must be under 35 years of age at the time of admission to membership, and remain that age 'in your heart' for the rest of the membership period.

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