11TH CONGRESS OF THE SAWMILL INDUSTRY OF SOUTHEAST EUROPE
September 25, 2020, Slavonski Brod, Croatia

Year 2016

Sawmill Industry Confirmes: Engineers Entering Industry Have a Lack of Practice!

Yesterday, over 230 participants at the 7th Congress of the Sawmill Industry of Southeast Europe, held in City of Slavonski Brod, extensively discussed current situation in the sector. Wood processing is slowly taking its natural position in the economy, since 48 percent of Croatian territory is covered by forests, the forest-based sector accounts for 3.6 percent of GDP, which is increasingly recognized by competent institutions. This year’s congress was held under the auspices of the President of Croatia Mrs. Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, while Prime Minister Mr. Andrej Plenkovic sent to the Congress his envoy Mr. Tugomir Majdak, Deputy Minister of Agriculture.

Wood industry is recognized as a strategically important sector in Croatian Government’s programme, which shows excellent results with over 10 percent of share in Croatian exports, said Majdak at the Congress opening. We are proud that Ministry of Agriculture has jurisdiction over two very prosperous sectors, of food and wood industry, Majdak continued, adding that professional meetings of this kind, with vivid interaction of local and international participants and exchange of ideas, are a guidepost for further progress and prosperity of the sector.

Series of technological innovations and the best European practices in the sawmilling and production of wood energy from France, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Hungary and Italy were presented. At the Congress also were discussed educational issues and questions regarding investments in human resources and inevitable issues of raw materials availability. Leading European manufacturers presented current trends in technological development. Market developments, the price of sawn timber, export bans of some assortments in neighboring countries and capital investments in the sector were some of the key questions.

Lack of well-trained staff represent “a bottleneck for the sectoral development”, concluded an interactive panel discussion of experts from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Slovenia and Croatia. The education system in the SEE countries is generally not adjusted to the needs of modern industry and does not follow the new developmental trends and IT solutions. Numerous experts from the Faculty of Forestry in Belgrade, Technical Faculty in Bihac and the Biotechnical Faculty in Ljubljana emphasized the need for modernization of the educational process. Lifelong learning in the sector is underdeveloped, as well as further institutional education, and that is why companies are forced to educate staff by themselves.

In addition to the evident shortcomings in higher education, the Congress pointed out the problem of vocational education. Present teachers from secondary vocational schools in Vinkovci, Slavonski Brod, Zagreb and Bosnia and Herzegovina stressed the need for further training of teachers and professors, and this is the reason why many of them participated at this Congress.

Except representatives of the sawmill industry and educational system, the Congress gathered experts engaged in forestry, suppliers of different technologies, wood traders and decision makers at the local, state and regional level. The Croatian Wood Cluster and CROBIOM organized the Congress, with the support of the European Organization of the Sawmill Industry (EOS). The conclusions and recommendations will be forwarded to the participants and the competent authorities after adjusting with the EOS office in Brussels.

PART OF STATEMENTS

Mr. Elvio Florian, owner, Florian Group, Italy
We are pleased with our work in Southeastern Europe and the continuation of investments in Croatia. So far we have five factories, and constantly explore new opportunities for investment. The project Vukovar is still valid and we will realize it if there is enough support of relevant institutions.

Mr. Viktor Radic, regional sales manager, Polytechnik, Austria
In terms of investments in renewable energy sector, Croatian market is the fastest developing in the whole Southeastern Europe. Available EU funds are sufficient, for which our company offers complete preparation of tender documentation for investment in sawmill.

Mr. Dragutin Gotic, owner, Kircek Ltd., Croatia
We achieve good synergy in the sector, unlike in previous periods, and therefore I am very satisfied. Primary production and its problems should not be ignored in a business plan, even though we rather invest in higher stages of processing, primarily in high-quality boards. I am very pleased with the level of received information and interaction in the Congress.

Ms. Suncica Lalic, Uni Viridas – Energostatik, Croatia/Turkey
Our business concept combines the interests of cogenerations and sawmills. Exclusively, here at the Congress we announce the start of building of 5,600 m3 drying capacities that are worth 6 mil. EUR, in Town of Babina Greda. We have another project of drying kilns in Grubišno Polje, and we invite customers and sawmills for cooperation and thus to increase the value of their products.

Mr. Michel Loyet, CEO, Finega Group
Our globally present company recognized importance of this event for our presentation and networking. Here in Slavonski Brod we exclusively presented our innovative technology “MasterTwin 3D” which is a new generation of 100 percent automatic end-dogger, that is «-in-one» machine including log quater-turner and resawing function.

Mr. Pekka Auro, owner, Koivu ja Tähti, Finland
Here at the Congress is a good and positive atmosphere, and everyone wants to learn more about different topics. For us foreigners it is good to openly discuss the problems in order to understand the market functioning. We are family owned company seeking for material for the Scandinavian parquet producers, approximately 5-6 MT per month and encourage the wood trade between SEE and Scandinavia.

Gallery 2016