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James Jones & Sons: All Timber Bases Covered

James Jones & Sons Ltd have been at the forefront of the UK timber industry for generations and are constantly innovating and expanding.  We spoke to them about recent company activity and about what shape the find the timber market in.  

What will the recent acquisition of GT Timber bring to James Jones’s annual sawn output?

The acquisition will increase our annual sawn output to 800,000m3 thereby consolidating our position as the UK’s largest privately owned sawmill, timber engineering and pallet manufacturing company. “We are delighted to have concluded this transaction,” says Tom Bruce-Jones, chairman of James Jones & Sons Ltd. “We are really pleased that the existing management team are staying on within the enlarged group to provide continuity, facilitate the integration and to help realise our long term strategic plans. The sawn output from both mills will complement our portfolio and will allow us to offer increased product opportunities for our existing, and newly expanded, customer base.”

Raw material prices are increasing globally and higher prices are reflected in the timber pallet and packaging industry, due to the impact of COVID, Brexit and wider global material demands etc – how is James Jones & Sons tackling this and maintaining availability and supply across the UK?

It has been well documented that timber prices are rising rapidly worldwide. The primary reasons being high demand from USA and China which is diverting Scandinavian and German timber away from European markets. The situation in the UK is exacerbated by the decline in Irish timber imports due to felling licence difficulties in the Republic of Ireland. This difficult situation in timber supply has severely impacted on the UK pallet and packaging manufacturing and repair sector.  In addition to the ‘supply side’ issues, there is very strong demand from the construction and fencing markets which compete for the material required for pallets and packaging.  The industry is working effectively through its industry associations (TIMCON in UK and FEFPEB in Europe) to communicate to clients the severe impact of this unprecedented situation (timber represents an average over 70% of the cost of new pallets).  The industry has also to contend with rapidly increasing steel price increases, along with the impact of Covid-19 and Brexit.

The JJI Joists assembly line at the Timber Systems Division has been hugely successful – what quantities are being produced and where are the successful market segments for the products?

We continue to innovate with new products and have recently launched Insulated JJI-Joists, which is an innovative addition to our I-Joist range. The OSB Is covered with Stylite PlusTherm. This considerably increases insulation performance, minimises thermal bridging and can be drilled for convenience, vastly reducing labour time and cost. They are also perfect for offsite construction.

2030 and 2050 net zero carbon targets are part of everyone’s long term thinking across the timber and construction industry – how is James Jones & Sons addressing these?

We have carried out a lot of life cycle assessment (LCA) and environmental product declarations (EPD) work, to promote the greater use of our sustainable wood products and where possible to substitute non-sustainable materials for sustainable wood products. One of our key sustainability elements is the use of the PAS 2050:2011 carbon reporting model, supported by Ecometrica, the UK’s leading greenhouse gas accounting and compliance specialists.

The carbon model measures our overall carbon balance, which uniquely demonstrates that the carbon captured during tree growth is greater than the carbon used to deliver, manufacture and supply our timber products. Not only does this enable key trigger impacts to be identified and reduced, but our resulting carbon negative footprint can be applied to supply contract volumes and individual house designs, to complement client corporate social responsibility (CSR) requirements in a meaningful and robust manner.

For the complete feature read the Spring 2021 Issue of Timber Trader UK

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