Auction in Münsterland: wood goes under the hammer

As of: 12.09.2021 09:46 a.m.

The shortage of materials puts some companies in such distress that they have to register short-time work. In the Münsterland, a pilot project is intended to help combat the shortage of wood: Wood from the region is auctioned by the forestry office.

By Jens Eberl and Melanie Weyand, WDR

At ten o’clock in the morning, master roofer Stefan Possemeyer from Emsdetten sits in front of the computer. He urgently needs wood for roof battens. After not getting any material on the market, he is now trying his luck at a timber auction. “I’ve already made a note of a couple of wooden piles here that could be of interest to us, here for example a wooden pile with spruce,” says the master roofer. He offers 150 euros per cubic meter.

The offer was discontinued by forest owner Ludger Große Wietfeld from Rheine. He really wants to get rid of his wood. Drought and bark beetles have destroyed the entire spruce stand, he says. The larch also suffered. The price of wood is in the cellar. “We didn’t get rid of the spruce at all, I worked it up for myself, the market has been slowly starting in spring, but it’s still difficult to sell wood,” said Große Wietfeld.

Lumber scarce, forest timber prices moderate

It is a paradox: many craftsmen in Germany currently have to cancel jobs because they have no material. Trade on the world market ensures that local craftsmen run out of bars; the great demand from China and the USA is showing through. While construction timber is becoming scarce, forest timber prices are at the same time rather moderate.

The Internet exchange is now supposed to bring both sides together. It is a large field test in the Münsterland. With the auction platform, craft businesses in the Münsterland can stock up on wood directly from the forest owner. “It works in a similar way to ebay,” says Heinz-Peter Hochhäuser, head of the Münsterland regional forest office at Wald und Holz NRW. He had the idea for the auction. “We wanted to do internet direct marketing in the region with the hope of leaving the added value in the region too.”

Auction on the Internet and in the forest

There are wood offers on the Internet, but also directly in the forest. There is then a barcode on wooden polders; whoever scans it comes up for auction. Almost 1000 cubic meters are on offer. The chances for a craft business to get something from it are very good.

The business is handled by the forestry association, Wald und Holz. It mediates transport companies and small sawmills. Those responsible are satisfied with the start of the auction, even if there weren’t that many bids after the first few hours. Skyscrapers sits excitedly in front of the computer: “You can see that 26 prospective customers, customers, have already looked at this,” he proudly observes.

Auction runs for two weeks

One of them is master roofer Possemeyer. Although he has a lot of jobs, he is very concerned about the lack of materials. “The problem is that we can’t get our roofs finished to fit; our customers are annoyed because: Everyone needs a roof over their heads, and without wood, without material it’s difficult.”

He is therefore placing great hopes in the online auction. “I think that’s a good thing because then I just have another pillar where I can get material when things get tight again.” In two weeks Possemeyer will find out whether he will get a chance at the auction and finally be able to replenish his wood store. Then the first online timber auction in Münsterland will expire.

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