Brexit anxiety reason for formation of new IBEC-led forestry group, say industry leaders
Brexit anxiety was the catalyst that led to the formation of Forestry Industries Ireland (FII), a new trade association for the forestry and timber industry that has been set up by IBEC.
FII was launched in Dublin today and comprises 22 member companies from across the island which cover the entire forestry chain.
Coillte CEO Fergal Leamy stated at the launch that Brexit was the catalyst behind forestry companies deciding to come together at this tome.
“Brexit has been somewhat of a catalyst to be honest for us coming together because we have been working for the last two years on our response to Brexit. The UK is going to be a crucial market for us and the more we can work together as an industry and meet that challenge, the better it is,” he said.
Mr Leamy added that UK customers see Irish timber as a home-grown product and said that contingency plans on how to address supply delay issues will be discussed by FII in order to plan for a possible hard-Brexit.
“Our customers in the UK see us as a home-grown product. We need to ensure a smoothness of supply. One thing we think about with timber is that it’s a perishable product so it doesn’t matter if it’s there within a time but it really does,”he said.
“A lot of our customers build supply chains which depend on easy access to the markets in a timely fashion so if they order today they’ll get it in next couple days.”
Brian Murphy, inaugural chairman of FII and CEO of Eniskillen-based timber processor Balcas,in Co Fermanagh added that the “anxiety of Brexit” had forced the industry to engage in joined up thinking.