Recently, a few of our colleagues from the bark unit went to Portugal. There they visited some of our suppliers to discuss quality and quantities for 2022. Among other things, they were able to get a precise picture of the processing on site. They were able to get a clear idea of how the bark is processed and how much effort is put in by the producers to guarantee the quality. The bark is sieved several times and then sorted by hand. However, the difficulties of the local producers in obtaining suitable qualities for processing on the Portuguese bark market were also discussed. This is not the only problem for the producers.
In 2021, the prices of pine bark increased steadily. Various factors caused bark shortages in Portugal. One reason was the considerable restrictions in production due to the pandemic situation. In addition, large areas of forest were destroyed by fire in 2018 and 2019, and the long-term restructuring of the forest structure in Portugal is causing problems for producers.
The demand for bark is high in the rest of Europe. In addition, the shortage of drivers in the country and rising fuel costs are causing the price of pine bark to spiral upwards. Especially in the spring season, deliveries may be delayed. We recommend our customers to stock up early before the season in order to avoid longer waiting times during the season.
Further price increases are also expected in the coming year. We at the Brüning Group are trying to get the suppliers to agree to binding prices by mid-2022. However, this is only possible to a limited extent. If raw bark prices in Portugal continue to rise exorbitantly, another price adjustment will probably be passed on to us within the first half of the year. Just like so many other times, the visit of the suppliers was worth the effort. Time and again it proves that there is no substitute for personal contact and that it is extremely valuable for good cooperation.