Koninklijke Houthandel G. Wijma & Zonen B.V.

Reorganisation of Wijma Kampen B.V.

Kampen, 28 January 2011 

Wijma Kampen B.V. is a major worldwide supplier of sawn timber and finished products such as sheet piling, bridges, lock gates, guardrails and constructions such as galleries for housing projects. The company’s policy is to process responsibly managed, legally and sustainably produced (FSC) timber for civil engineering projects and the construction industry in conformity with the policy of the Koninklijke Wijma Group (total workforce of approx. 1,300 employees) and the broad social debate at home and abroad. 

Since early 2010 there has been a ban on the export of logs from Gabon. All trees which are felled in Gabon are cut into beams and planks to bring about the much-needed spending power and to improve utilization of resources and so relieve pressure on the forest. As a result of this change in legislation it has once again become evident that supplies of raw materials are undergoing changes. Many other countries in the Tropics have since developed their own local timber industry, for example, by imposing export embargoes, processing logs at source into sawn timber and semi-finished products. 

Poor reliability in supplies of logs from West Africa - in terms of delivery time, continuity, quality and price – and the growing trend towards cheaper processing of Azobé logs at source, are the main reasons why efficient and financially viable operations are almost impossible for the production unit at Wijma in Kampen. 

It goes without saying that extensive talks have been held with the works council and the unions about the plans to reorganise production operations. Positive negotiations are ongoing with the works council. Owing to a busy agenda on the part of social partners, the next meeting has been planned for mid-February with the unions and the works council. 

"Given that the process should be settled with the works council, unions and the personnel involved as painstakingly as possible, it is no longer possible for me to say that the plan is to organise operations any differently. What I can say however, is that volumes are the same as in the past. There is and there will continue to be more than enough demonstrably legal or FSC-certified timber in the future, as well as sawn timber or processed Azobé at Wijma Kampen B.V., certainly with the support of our solid production status in Cameroon. All in all, there are no factors in place to obstruct orders as in the past" according to Ad Wesselink, managing director of Wijma Kampen B.V.

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