Congo suspends log exports – UW GROUP

Congo suspends log exports

Boris Ngounou, writing for Afrik21, reports that the
Republic of Congo suspended log exports as of 1 January
2023. This decision is despite guidelines from the Council
of Ministers of the Central African Economic Union
(UEAC) which decided on 28 October 2022 to postpone,
to an unspecified date, the entry into force of the log
export ban. Cameroon continues to export logs say

Pointe-NoirePport officials are following instructions from
the Congolese Minister of Forest Economy, Rosalie
Matondo, who announced in a letter dated 21 October
2022 that from 1 January 2023 wood product exports from
Congo would be restricted to semi-finished or finished

While not adopting a log export ban it is reported that the
government in Cameroon has significantly increased
duties and export taxes on logs which prompted some
operators to stop production as of 2 January 2023.

Buyers tighten demandsfor CITES documentation
Producers in other Cemac countries are seeking
clarification as there has been no official announcement on
whether the export restrictions are in place. Similarly,
producers are yet to learn of the implementation plans for
the latest CITES regulations but report that already
European authorities are asking for CITES documents
without which shipments will be detained until all papers
are cleared. It has been learned that the authorities in
Antwerp are particularly strict which has resulted in some
cargo to be redirected to Amsterdam.

The challenge of added value manufacturing
With the lifting of most covid restrictions in China
producers in the region are optimistic that demand in
China will pick up after the Chinese New Year holidays.

What has many concerned is how to contribute to the
efforts in expanding domestic processing of added value
products. There has been an increase in processing in
Congo and Cameroon and efforts are being made to
manufacture furniture, mainly for the domestic market, to
compete with imports.

Weak demand – mills cut production
It has been reported that in Gabon there are some 234
mills of which 167 are Chinese owned but due to the weak
demand in China 34 peeler mills has ceased production.
However most of the Indian mills are still operating and
production rates have increased as efforts to diversify
markets are paying off.

Demand for ovangkol, padouk, belli for the Chinese
market is holding up and buyers for the Philippines and
Middle East markets are active. However, demand for tali
for the Vietnamese market is said to be soft.

The high stock of okoume in the Gabon SEZ has not been
resolved and there are reports of additional and massive
log stocks in the forest concession areas.

Log transport is a constant issue in Gabon. Most logs are
transported by rail but log shipment take second place
after manganese shipments. Transportation delays will
continue as landslides have damaged large stretch of the
rail line and repairs will take months.


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