As interest in sustainable business practices has grown, usage of natural construction elements such as wood has been rising. The greater visibility of environmental issues and sustainability has raised the standards expected of products and services. In this case, logistics should optimize and coordinate the flows of materials to satisfy market demand with minimal negative effects on nature. Realizing eco-friendly ambitions in logistics is not an easy task. But there is a company doing so perfectly – AsstrA-Associated Traffic AG.
The wood supply chain combines harvesters, processors, and transportation operators. Since 2013, all wood and paper supply chain members must meet legal obligations with regards to procuring EU and non-EU sourced timber to be used for construction materials. Certification systems like the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Program for Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) have become widely recognized in both the public and private sectors. The FSC takes a top-down approach by checking the forests themselves. The PEFC has become integrated into the global forest management industry and hires third-party members to audit forests, the business activities taking place in them, and the entire production cycle from timber sourcing to end product. Logistics providers must be aware of international legislation affecting wood and paper supply chains.
Keeping in mind rising compliance requirements for wood, wood products, and wood board deliveries, at the end of 2014 international logistics and transportation group AsstrA-Associated Traffic AG formed AsstrA Wood and Paper Logistics (AWPL), a specialized division made up of multinational wood transport experts. The AWPL team led by Ekaterina Sellas effectively organizes timber shipping projects and ensures that cargo meets the international standards demanded by retailers.
“Logistics connect all of the supply chain members and technologies facilitating the flow of services, raw materials, intermediate products, and finished products. Harvesting, handling, processing, transportation, and storage must all be organized for wood, wood products, and wood board. An estimated 350 million tons of raw materials and products worth 7.5 billion euros are delivered in Europe every year. Providing logistics for this sector is a significant business opportunity that demands careful attention to environmental protection policies. AsstrA seeks to keep up with global standards and the international trend towards green logistics and eco-friendly business operations in general,” says Ms. Sellas.
The initiative continues to pay off with ongoing success: “During the first 6 months of 2018, AsstrA Wood and Paper Logistics specialists have executed over 7,800 wood transportation orders, 9% more than during the same period a year ago,” remarks Vitaly Verbilovich, Head of the AsstrA Research and Development Division.
During the first half of 2017 AsstrA shipped 137,000 tons of wood, wood products, and wood board. During the same period in 2018, the team has already transported 291,000 tons. Wood and paper transportation orders make up 12.18% of AsstrA’s entire freight volume. Additionally, these orders generate 11.2% of the company’s total revenue.
“AsstrA transports timber and secondary timber products by trade lanes mostly between Italy-Poland, Russia-Germany, Belarus-Poland, France-Poland, and Russia-Romania. The wood and paper industry in these regions is highly developed and forest harvesting and sustainability regulations are known to be among the most protective in the world,” notes Ekaterina Sellas.