Eastern Siberia Trip
12 Dec 2019
Peter Clayton and Simon Shannon recently travelled to eastern Siberia to visit several sawmills in the region. The main purpose of the trip was to establish new supplier relationships and strengthen existing ones.
The flight to Bratsk was long and tiring but the lads hit the ground running and were welcomed by a local temperature of -20° C. This would not be the coldest temperature of the trip. The first mill they inspected operated 2 sights, one for cutting and one for export.
Later that day they visited Dekom, our biggest supply partner for Siberian Larch. This mill has established a very good name in the trade and leads the way when it comes to quality. DeKom showed us the locations of their logging regions, along with the new proposed sites which will supply them for the next 10-15 years. Larch trees are normally harvested at around 200 years old, but some can be as old as 400 years. The size of Siberia (1.2GHA) means that it’s still possible to harvest trees from virgin forests where there has not been any previous human interaction.
The next mill was a 5.5 hour drive away in Ust Ilimsk along a very bumpy, icy road. It is the biggest producing sawmilling group in Russia and all aspects of the cutting process are housed inside which is unlike any other mill. They hold 30,000m3 of stock at any one time which is kept inside the same building housing the sawmill. The warehouse is large enough to load 15 rail carts inside at a time.
An internal flight then took them to the biggest and oldest European based city in Siberia, Irkutsk, which is home to Lake Baikal, the largest, deepest fresh water lake in the world, as well as several sawmills.
One of the most interesting developments were the wide range of laminated products that the mills now produce. This intelligent method uses more of the log, meaning very little timber is thrown away or burnt for fuel.
Overall it was a very worthwhile, productive trip. Going the extra mile to visit suppliers from around the world is very important to Timber Connection to ensure we’re dealing with reliable and honest partners and have a profound understanding of the products we source.