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Estonia’s firewood export grows; US consumers fond of Estonian birch

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Estonia has exported 2.5 times more firewood this year as companies have been forced to find new target markets to compensate for the small and highly seasonal domestic market.

Viljandi-based OÜ Sakkose sells birch firewood to the United States. Kalle Kalda, production manager for the company, says that Americans have money and birch is exotic to them. It burns longer than beech, which is most commonly used in the U.S. The company currently employs 12 packing specialists, but plans to hire up to 20 employees to meet an increase in exports. The company sells firewood also to Norway and Finland, but faces tough competition from Latvians in Norway.

Esveko Wood OÜ, from Põlvamaa in southern Estonia, sells firewood to Sweden, Denmark and the U.K. The company produces firewood only for export. Janno Pärt, head of Tartumaa-based Sanlain Group OÜ, which sells mostly to Norway, says that export helps a lot in achieving a stable turnover throughout the year as Estonians buy firewood mostly in summer.

According to the Estonian Forest and Wood Industries Association, the largest firewood group is wood granules and it is sold mostly to Denmark, Sweden and Italy. Timber firewood is sold to Denmark, Germany, Norway, the U.S. and Sweden. Head of the association, Ott Otsmann, says that producing firewood adds value to cheap and low quality timber. In 8 months this year, firewood products export reached 69.2 million euros.

Source: Raamets, H. (2013) Eesti kasehalge veetakse Ameerikasse. Maaleht, 17. oktoober.