And what an issue to come back to! The Ligna preview issue is always one of our largest and this year is no exception, with 12 pages dedicated to presenting the latest offerings in technology for machines and consumables, such as resin. The show will take place, as always, in the massive Hannover exhibition grounds and this year it will be open from May 11-15.

Preceding Ligna is the Interzum exhibition, which showcases the latest designs and technologies for the decorative panel and furniture industries. This will take place in its regular location in the halls of the Cologne exhibition centre from May 5-8.

There is also another show taking place in the Design Post Cologne, a showroom across the road from the Cologne exhibition centre, where more companies will exhibit their latest colours and textures for decor paper.

Apart from the previews, this issue’s main feature is of course our annual survey of all OSB lines in the world. This begins with the world’s largest OSB-producing region, North America, followed by a study of the mills in the rest of the world.

We are fortunate to have the services of our panel industry expert in North America, who has produced, as always, the most comprehensive survey and analysis of the industry, including mills that are no longer in production, to give the most complete picture of the industry today that you will find anywhere. The OSB market in North America is not growing as fast as many had hoped, and prices are not rising fast yet either, but it is still in positive territory.

The biggest news in OSB in North America is the merger of Ainsworth and Norbord, which we anticipate will have completed by the time you read this column. There are also three new mills planned, the latest to be announced being by Roy O Martin Co. These may well adversely affect the prospects for better prices of course, depending when they come on stream.

Meanwhile, in the ‘rest of the world’, OSB capacity continues to grow fast – mainly, though not entirely, in the eastern part of Europe, but also in China and South East Asia.

There are eight new/extending lines in Russia alone and three in China, forming part of a total of just under six million cubic metres of extra capacity outside North America. Who said that Baoyuan’s mill in China would always be the only one?

With the continuing crisis in Ukraine, and the consequent sanctions on Russia, some of the planned new OSB capacity there may be delayed, but I am confident it will come on stream before very long. As in North America, this will presumably have consequences for OSB prices across the European continent.

As the clock ticks away towards the day when Interzum, and then Ligna, open their doors, one can feel the excitement mounting in anticipation of what looks as if it is going to be a brilliant show season for our industry.