Global Sawmill Cost Benchmarking Report

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2020 Annual Basis – 2021Q1

FEA has been conducting global sawmill cost benchmarking since 2000 and is considered the leading source of accurate and insightful benchmarking data.

Key Analysis: Comparisons of each country and region categorized by cost and revenue (in US$, Cdn$, and euros) per m3 and Mbf.

About this Report

Understanding regional and global competitiveness in terms of delivered log costs, sawmilling costs and delivered lumber prices is essential to a company’s business plan for its local, traditional (“national”) and export markets, as well as its competitiveness against imports. As world markets improve and sawmills begin to adjust capacity, it is more important than ever for timber and sawmill companies to understand the costs/margins within their industry and of their competitors—and the variances between producing regions.

FEA presents the tenth biannual Global Sawmill Cost Benchmarking Report covering 9 quarters and more than 29 countries/regions on six continents based on cost/margin data collected from sawmills. Quarterly summaries of costs and revenues for key countries/regions are included.


  • A profile of the major sawn wood producing regions in North America, Europe, Russia, the Southern Hemisphere. and China.
  • Benchmarking of delivered sawlog and sawmilling costs, lumber yields, lumber and by-product revenues, and margins for more than 29 key countries or regions.
  • Full-year costs/revenues for 2019Q1–2021Q1.


Quarterly cost trends—in tables and graphs—from 2019Q1–2021Q1 for most countries/regions.

Delivered lumber costs to three key export markets:

  • U.S. South (from 10 exporting regions)
  • China (from 13 exporting regions)
  • Australia (from 10 exporting regions)

The impacts of U.S. duties on Canadian lumber costs.

Questions Addressed

  • Where are the low-cost lumber producers today, how is that changing, and how does it compare with previous years?
  • What impacts did COVID-19 have on sawmilling costs across global producing regions?
  • How much larger is the U.S. South’s margins versus other North American producing regions?
  • What is the impact of U.S. duties on Canadian costs delivered to the U.S.?
  • What is the break-even price range for European suppliers to the U.S. market, and how do fluctuating currency-rate scenarios change the result?
  • How have European sawmill costs shifted as Central Europe deals with the salvage of beetle-killed timber?
  • How competitive are mills in the Baltics and Eastern Europe?
  • How do Russian costs compare at current exchange rates?
  • Are the highest-cost producing regions still in the Southern Hemisphere, where some still have favorable margins?
  • How profitable is the B.C. Interior’s industry not that the salvage of mountain pine beetle-killed timber supply is largely over?

Key Attributes

  1. Unique strategic report presents cost details on the competitiveness of major production regions within the global timber, sawmill and lumber industries.
  2. Log and sawmill manufacturing cost summaries presented by major producing country/region for “average” and “top-performing” mills and by quarter.
  3. Ranking of results to profile “best” or lowest-cost/highest-margin producing countries or regions.

Timber & Sawn Wood Cost Benchmarking Details

  1. All costs are summarized on the same currency basis (e.g., US$/m3 net; US$/MBF) for direct, relevant comparisons to other regions (for Europe, €/m3 will be included).
  2. Timber costs include stumpage fees and logging/delivery costs to mills.
  3. Sawmill cost details include direct costs (energy, operating, and maintenance supplies), labor, and all mill overhead costs, plus depreciation.

Table of Contents

Key Features — Timber, sawmill, and lumber benchmarking by country, covering:

  • Logging to roadside and hauling to mill
  • Stumpage/return to landowner
  • Delivered log costs
  • Logs to lumber costs and recoveries/yields
  • Sawmill costs (labor/direct/indirect)
  • Lumber and by-product revenue
  • Margins: Pre-tax profit (EBITDA)
  • Margins: After-depreciation allowance (EBIT)
  • Breakdown of mill costs and summarized by “average” and “top-performing” mill for regions/countries
  • Comparison of mill costs/margins
  • Manufacturing and log trends/issues
  • Delivered lumber costs to three key markets

For subscription rates, please contact David Battaglia, VP Sales and Marketing, by phone at +1 (770) 265-7150 (cell) or +1 (978) 496-6338 (office), or via email at