Baptiste Janssens who started a travelling, contract sawing operation in the Pas-de-Calais eighteen months ago
has noted some subtle changes in timber processing in France and southern Belgium.
"There is an increasing demand for the exploitation of local wood which people have on the place or which they buy in, which is explained by the recession and by the high purchase price of sawn wood.
"An interesting success area can be linked to matters concerning the environment, an area that is growing and is working well. Many of my clients want to exploit the wood which they own in a sustainable manner, at home. In such cases it makes sense to have it sawn directly on the spot.
"Nevertheless, the economic environment is not easy and the downturn is making itself felt in France. Buying wood to sell on is not as profitable as it was. Some large sawmills are suffering due to competition from Eastern Europe and from tropical hardwoods", he explains.
Baptiste Janssens, 30, describes himself as a small craftsman and he wants to stay that way. He is now focussing on special environmental jobs, working with regional natural parks in Northern France, cutting wood and using it on the spot to make chalets or bridges, for example. He also works for manufacturers and artisans, such as a wooden caravan maker and a yurt maker. He prefers specific artisan projects and does not make wood for pallets, for instance (like large sawmills), even though his semi-industrial Wood-Mizer LT70 is well equipped for such work.
He used to saw on-site for the SARL Muerot sawmill at Marconelle, whose own circular and band-sawmills had been
destroyed by fire. However, because their own market’s demand for the sale of sawn wood has dropped he no longer works with them. They now supply logs (forest wood) and the demand for them is not as great. Even so, he would like to go back if the economy recovers.
His own turnover is growing continuously, by about 20 % per year. This contributes to his optimism for the future and he would like to focus on environment-related work to provide both green and local solutions. He wants to avoid where possible, imported wood, claiming that high-quality wood can be found locally.
Baptiste Janssens has many, diverse customers and the idea of providing services to artisans and private individuals in the area of environment protection appeals to him. His positive attitude and his trusty LT70 indicate that he will continue to prosper, whatever the economic climate.