On 13 September 2022, Franz Fayot, Minister of the Economy, and Sasha Baillie, CEO of the national innovation agency Luxinnovation, presented the e-Holzhaff platform at a press conference. This digital marketplace aims to facilitate the connection between supply and demand in the wood sector, thus optimising the value chain.
Available in German and French, the tool is also aimed at players in the timber sector in the Greater Region. On the e-Holzhaff website, users can consult and publish advertisements to offer or request products [round wood (logs or batches of wood), hardwood types (beech, oak, birch, maple, etc.) or softwood types (pine, Douglas fir, spruce, larch)] and services (transport, sawing, drying, storage, felling).
The focus is on the first processing stage, i.e. the supply of round wood to the wood processing industry, which then uses it for building timber. The digital platform is targeted at companies, associations and private individuals. In the long term, the aim is to supplement the platform with other functionalities.
Launched by the Luxembourg Wood Cluster of Luxinnovation and the Ministry of the Economy, the tool was designed in close collaboration with and at the request of public and private players in the field. "We relied on a group of experts within the Cluster Advisory Group, made up of representatives of key companies in the sector, public research and ministries," explains Sasha Baillie. "This allowed us to define an approach that would meet the needs of future users. There are no other comparable digital marketplaces in the Greater Region that target both suppliers and consumers of wood."
In Luxembourg, the forest area covers more than one third of the territory. The national wood sector represents 1,285 companies (98% of which are SMEs, three quarters of which have less than 10 employees) employing around 19,000 people. The country has more than 14,000 private owners of forest areas and more than half - 54% - of the forests belong to the private sector. The supply of wood is therefore very fragmented, with small volumes that are difficult to sell on the traditional market.
"The creation of this digital marketplace e-Holzhaff aims to help valorise the wood available in the country, while supporting wood processors in their desire to use regional materials," said Minister of the Economy, Franz Fayot.
Winfried Von Loë of the Lëtzebuerger Privatbësch Association stated: "E-Holzhaff is a real opportunity for small owners who usually only have small volumes. This platform allows a real expansion of supply and demand."
Corinne Brever, Managing Director of the Scierie Bois Brever SA, added: "This platform gives a general overview of the whole market. It will support the development of the sector and the desire to build ecologically with regional wood, by providing more transparency on what exists on the market."
Mark Weber, Managing Director of Steffen Holzbau AG, said: "It is an important step in bringing together all local and regional players. It will enhance the value chain of the entire wood industry."
After an initial pilot phase, an evaluation of the site is planned to determine whether other functionalities should be added, such as the possibility of direct financial transactions via the platform.
Press release by the Ministry of the Economy and Luxinnovation