Impact of Covid 19 on timber trade



For information on the progress of the spread and the disease situation: We bring you here, and will continue to do so in the coming weeks, the information provided by our members and partners regarding the tropical timber market and the activities of companies in Europe, Africa and Asia.


Parmi les mesures mises en place durant cette période de confinement certains départements ont interdit l’accès aux forêts par arrêté préfectoral. « Seuls les propriétaires forestiers, ou ayants droit, ainsi que les professionnels de la filière forêt-bois sont autorisés à se déplacer en forêt dans le cadre de leurs missions ».

The Ameublement Français is drawing up a best practice guide to set up a business continuity plan for wood and furniture companies and industries and is working to support the sector in managing this crisis by setting up a FAQ concerning social affairs, tax and cash-flow and proposes a support plan for French exporting companies.

Decree 2020-306  on the adaptation of lockdown measures and particularly on the deadlines for processing building permit applications for all buildings is making the reaction of construction professionals.« The government has just adapted, on a provisional basis, the procedures for issuing, executing and controlling urban planning authorisations. »


TTF has just published the results of the survey on coronavirus conducted among its members. According to the results, the timber trade is significantly decrease in demand for products. Timber trade slow but resilient during COVID-19 crisis. More than 60% of respondents accessing to the job retention mechanism. According to David Hopkin, Timber Trade Federation CEO, « This report reflects how uncertainty in the construction sector is impacting the timber supply chain, with mixed messages between national, local and devolved government on whether to stay open. »

​« While the measures taken by Government so far to support business may help in the short term, we will need to begin to see a plan for the other side of this crisis. »Download the full report


As part of the sector’s activities, any movement outside Abidjan was subject to prior authorisation, which was a hindrance for industrial units located in Abidjan, including the PEF, a timber harvesting area outside the limits of Abidjan. The SPIB submitted a request to the Ministry of Security and Civil Protection, which gave its approval in view of the relevance of our proposals and the low risk. In particular, logging trucks may circulate without prior authorization. For the time being, all units are operating.


With the general containment measures in the commune of La Gombe, the headquarters of most logging companies and public administrations, access is restricted and only for priority services. Logging companies are not counted.


While INTERHOLCO and CIB OLAM, located in Northern Congo, continue their activities, in Southern Congo, some companies are at a standstill. However, the general activity of the sector is significantly reduced and challenged by the implementation of COVID-19 measures.

Support mechanisms for businesses and community life are being set up at the international and local levels:

  • Solidarity Funds
  • Joint venture ARISE-OLAM facilitates the provision and distribution of the equipment necessary to ensure sanitary safety conditions. In addition OLAM plans to support medical research. 

INTERHOLCO launches a Citizen ALLIANCE campaign to secure essential medical supplies to combat the spread of COVID-19. 


As the other countries in the world, Gabon has recently taken new measures to tackle the spread of covid-19. These include the following:


Seven new measures will take effect from 13 April 2020:

  1. The generalization of the wearing of masks in all public places;
  2. The local production of medicines, tests, masks and gel;
  3. The establishment of specialized treatment centers for COVID-19 patients in all regions;
  4. The intensification of the screening campaign;
  5.  Intensification of the awareness campaign in both official languages through complementary channels and the support of all authorities, including religious and traditional authorities;
  6. The continuation of activities necessary for the economy;

Systematic sanctioning of all offenders.


Because of the vulnerability of the population, still present, to COVID-19 and new cases identified in Shanghai and Beijing, the recovery of activities is gradual. To avoid a second wave of the epidemic, « Shanghai has also announced the (re)closure of its tourist sites, which had reopened in mid-March. Beijing, for its part, has blocked all foreigners from entering its territory and has ordered a drastic reduction in international air traffic. »

A drop in demand from foreign countries is noted. In spite of the financial support mechanisms to ensure the recovery of the actiivty, Chinese economists are calling for a shift to higher gear, in particular by granting cash bonuses directly to the population.