Entrepreneurship - Business

Timber transport in Romania - A practical guide for professionals

Timber transport in Romania is a complex subject, regulated by a series of laws and rules designed to ensure the traceability and legality of timber materials. In order to make these provisions easier to understand for all the actors involved - foresters, forestry offices, transport companies, carpenters and others - we will go through the main aspects of the legislation in as clear and accessible a manner as possible. At the end we have prepared the information below in a clearer, more structured form, for your future use.

What the law says about transporting timber on public roads

According to the Rules on the origin, movement and marketing of wood materials (GD 497/2020 amended by GD 512/2022), during transport the origin of the timber must be proven by an accompanying document issued in SUMAL 2.0 Advices. This permit can be electronic - for professional transporters - or in letter/PDF format (in the listed version) for non-professional transporters. There are several types of notices, depending on the place of loading (warehouse, place of harvest, etc.) and destination.

Issuers of permits are economic operators who harvest timber, those who store, hold, transport, trade or process timber, as well as forestry offices, in various situations specified in the rules. When issued, data on the issuer, point of loading, consignee, point of unloading, means of transport and details of the timber transported: species, species types, volumes are filled in SUMAL.

During transport, professional drivers have additional obligations, such as taking photos of the load and ensuring GPS connection. At destination, the consignee accepts or rejects the material in the application. Any differences from the notice are reported to the forestry authorities. Wood without a valid permit is considered to be without legal provenance and is confiscated.

The entry into force in 2022 of the new provisions has highlighted the central role of SUMAL 2.0 - Integrated Wood Tracking Information System. Its use is mandatory for a wide range of actors: forestry offices, timber traders, professional transporters, exporters/importers, control authorities, etc. The aim is to ensure complete traceability of timber from the place of harvest to its final destination.

In conclusion, although complex, the legislation on timber transport in Romania has important objectives - combating illegal logging, theft and illegal trade in timber. Rigorous compliance on the part of all those involved is essential to achieving these goals. Ongoing consultation of the rules, correct use of SUMAL and dialogue with forestry authorities are some of the keys to success in this area.

Below, the structured information I told you about at the beginning.

1. Legal framework

Timber transport in Romania is mainly regulated by the following legislation:

  • Forestry Code (Law 46/2008)
  • HG 497/2020 - Rules on the origin, movement and marketing of timber materials, amended and supplemented by GD 512/2022
  • Law 171/2010 on the establishment and sanctioning of forest offences

The role of SUMAL 2.0

SUMAL 2.0 (Integrated Information System for the Tracking of Timber Material) is the electronic tool for ensuring the traceability of timber.

The use of SUMAL is mandatory for:

  • forestry scouts
  • economic operators storing, processing, sorting, marketing timber
  • professional transporters (over 20 m3/year)
  • timber exporters/importers
  • forestry control authorities

The application has dedicated modules for planning, approvals, control, reporting, etc. Its purpose is to provide a clear record of the origin and movement of timber.

3. Documents of provenance

In order to be legally transported, the timber must be documented:

  1. APV (act of value addition) for timber from authorised parts,
  2. Electronic register (SUMAL 2.0 Agent) for timber in warehouses,
  3. Accompanying notice for the timber being transported,
  4. Customs import declaration (DVI) or FLEGT licence for timber imported from third countries,
  5. Intra-Community documents (invoice, CMR, etc.) for timber imported from the EU,
  6. Various minutes of surrender, inventory, seizure for other specific situations.

4. Accompanying notice

The accompanying notice is the document issued in SUMAL 2.0 that must accompany any shipment of timber. It can be:

  • electronically on the professional carrier's device
  • PDF/printed, when the carrier is not professional
  • letric, in some cases (max 20 cubic metres from the place of harvest)

Types of opinions:

  • from the place of harvest
  • from storage/temporary storage
  • for imported timber
  • for transhipment
  • for purchases (wood bought from individuals)
  • for technological transport

Issuers of opinions can be:

  • economic operators legally harvesting timber
  • warehouses that trade wood
  • forestry offices (in situations specified in the rules)

When the opinion is issued, data on:

  • issuer,
  • loading point,
  • the recipient and the unloading point,
  • means of transport,
  • timber transported (species, species, volumes).

5. Obligations of the carrier

Professional drivers have specific obligations during transport:

  • take 4 photos of the load (front, rear, side),
  • keep the data connection and GPS receiver on,
  • update its position regularly,
  • report any incidents or malfunctions.

At destination, the recipient accepts or rejects the goods in the application. If he refuses, the issuer of the notice must request a new notice to return the goods.

In the case of non-professional consignments (max 20mc), the letter of advice shall be handed over to the consignee as proof of origin.

6. Wood without legal provenance

Timber transported without a valid permit is considered to be of illegal origin and is confiscated. Other situations in which transported timber is confiscated:

  • expired notice
  • transport without authorisation
  • opinion without a corresponding opinion in SUMAL
  • volume greater than in the opinion (over tolerances)
  • transport of timber not included in the notice
  • transport with loading/unloading point different from the notice

Penalties for illegal transport are set by Law 171/2010 and include fines and confiscation.

7. Volume of timber transported

  1. The volume can be determined by individual cutting (thick wood), measuring in figures (thin wood, firewood) or weighing (for lumber, chipping). The methods and tolerances are laid down in the standards.
  2. The accompanying document must include the volume data. For thick round wood (>24cm) the number of pieces, length and diameter of each piece must be entered. For thin wood, the number of geometric figures and their dimensions must be entered. Non-timber can be cubed into figures.

8. Felling and clearing

  1. The clearing of fruit trees and shrubs (over certain areas) or the felling of edible nuts and chestnuts can only be done with a permit from the county agricultural directorates.
  2. The authorisation is issued on the basis of documentation showing the decline/ageing of the plantation, disease infestation or its location in an area where construction of local/national interest is to follow.
  3. Cutting/trimming without authorisation is punishable by a fine.

9. Further information

  1. For case-by-case interpretations or complex cases, professionals should refer to legal texts or specialist advice.
  2. SUMAL 2.0 has a helpdesk module where you can ask questions. Forestry offices and directorates also provide information and support.
  3. In view of the damage caused by illegal logging, professionals must pay the utmost attention to compliance with forestry rules. Compliance with the legal framework brings long-term benefits to both the environment and the timber processing industry.

I hope this article provides a useful overview of the timber transport regulations in Romania. For updates and further details, please check the official websites of the forestry authorities regularly.

About the author

Mihaela Radu

Mihaela Radu is a chemical engineer but has a great passion for wood. She has been working in the field for more than 20 years, wood finishing being what defined her during this period. She gained experience working in a research institute, in her own company, as well as in a multinational. She wants to continuously share her experience with those who have the same passion - and more.

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