Pulp and Paper

Metsa Group Kemi Bioproduct Mill

Metsä Group Says Logistics Solution is Ready for New Kemi Bioproduct Mill

Sept. 6, 2023 - The new logistics solution designed for Metsä Group's bioproduct mill in Kemi, Finland, is ready to serve the mill’s transport needs. The solution includes a new logistics road on Sahansaarenkatu leading to the mill site, an electrified private track to the mill and the warehouse in port of Kemi in Ajos.

"The new logistics solution is based on ensuring safety, delivery reliability and quality. Together with our partners, we have built a complete logistics solution to ensure a seamless supply chain from the forest to the mill and from the mill to the customers," says Pasi Pulkkinen, Logistics Director of the Kemi bioproduct mill project.

Two thirds of the new mill’s wood will be transported by rail, using the new private track. The transports are powered by VR’s latest engines. Vectron electric locomotives can handle loads as heavy as 2,500 tonnes, which means approximately 20–25 per cent more wood per train. All in all, more than 400 wagons will be used for the Kemi bioproduct mill’s rail transports, and the fleet is assigned exclusively to these transports. Traffic infrastructure and related improvements have been addressed from the project’s outset, and they have been designed jointly with the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency and VR. The mill’s private track enables wood transports with electric locomotives all the way to the mill.

Truck traffic to the mill will use the new Sahansaarenkatu logistics road, the improvements to which have been carried out by the City of Kemi. The private track and the new logistics road have been built so that they do not intersect with other traffic, which will significantly improve traffic safety in the surrounding area.

All exports from the new mill will be concentrated in the port of Ajos in Kemi, where Metsä Fibre has built a new 37 000 m2 product warehouse. In the port warehouse, the pulp bales will be handled by electric forklifts and an electric harbour crane. The transport of pulp from the mill to the port of Ajos is handled by Kuljetusliike Kalevi Huhtala Oy. The loading and unloading of pulp bales into trucks is done automatically with equipment designed for the mill's needs. The specially designed trucks used for the transports are fuelled with biodiesel.

In the harbour, the draught has been increased to 12 metres to allow the use of larger vessels and more efficient sea transport. The draught of the harbour basin is the responsibility of Kemin Satama Oy and the draught of the seaway is the responsibility of the Finnish Transport Agency.

Pasi Pulkkinen, the project's logistics director, praises the cooperation with the partners as really smooth.

"Efficient logistics is one of the basic prerequisites for the mill’s operation. In the logistics solution, we have demanded efficient and low-emission solutions from our partners. Through good cooperation, we have created a highly functional and safe solution, which we will implement together with our selected partners," says Pulkkinen.

About Kemi Bioproduct Mill

The Kemi bioproduct mill will produce some 1.5 million tonnes of softwood and hardwood pulp per year, as well as many other bioproducts. It will also produce 2.0 TWh of renewable electricity per year, which equals to roughly 2,5 percent of Finnish total electricity production and together with Äänekoski bioproduct mill roughly 5 per cent. The new mill will replace the current pulp mill in Kemi, which has reached the end of its lifespan.

SOURCE:  Metsä Group

 

Canfor Pulp Reports Results for Second Quarter of 2023

"Financially, this was a challenging quarter for the pulp business as declining global pulp market conditions weighed heavily on results." – Kevin Edgson, President and CEO of Canfor Pulp Products.July 28, 2023 - Canfor Pulp Products Inc. (CPPI) today reported its second quarter of 2023 results.

Overview

  • Q2 2023 reported operating loss of $38 million; net loss of $28 million, or $0.44 per share
  • Significant deterioration in global pulp market fundamentals throughout the quarter driven by record high pulp producer inventory levels and weak global pulp demand
  • Completed closure of pulp line at Prince George Pulp and Paper mill
  • Subsequent to quarter-end, a labour dispute at British Columbian ports resulted in transportation bottlenecks and a short curtailment at the Company's Northwood NBSK pulp mill

The Company reported an operating loss of $37.9 million for the second quarter of 2023, compared to an operating loss of $25.2 million for the first quarter of 2023. After taking into consideration a net $6.9 million inventory write-down in the current period, the Company's adjusted operating loss was $31.0 million for the second quarter of 2023, compared to an adjusted operating loss of $21.6 million for the first quarter of 2023. These results, for the most part, reflect the impact of substantial global pulp pricing declines in the current quarter driven by elevated global market pulp producer inventory levels and weak global softwood pulp demand.

In January 2023, the Company announced the decision to restructure its operating footprint to align its manufacturing capacity with the long-term supply of economic residual fibre and, as a result, in April 2023, the Company wound down and permanently closed the pulp line at its Prince George ("PG") Northern Bleached Softwood Kraft ("NBSK") Pulp and Paper mill. In connection with this closure, the Company's Intercontinental NBSK pulp mill ("Intercon") was successfully converted to provide slush pulp to its specialty paper facility. The combined impact of these operating structure changes is a reduction of approximately 280,000 tonnes of market kraft pulp production annually.

Commenting on the Company's second quarter of 2023 results, CPPI's President and Chief Executive Officer, Kevin Edgson, said, "Following our difficult decision to permanently close the pulp line at the Prince George Pulp and Paper mill, we had a smooth and efficient wind down of the pulp line and an effective transition of slush pulp supply to our paper machine. We want to thank our employees for their unwavering commitment to safety along with their determination, dedication, and resilience to continue to strive for improved operating performance and reliability.

"Financially, this was a challenging quarter for the pulp business as declining global pulp market conditions weighed heavily on results. While we continue to navigate the current external challenges facing our pulp business, including the ongoing weak global pulp market fundamentals, we greatly appreciate our employees' continued efforts in navigating through these difficult conditions."

Global softwood pulp market fundamentals and pricing experienced considerable pressure during the second quarter of 2023 as tepid global demand was combined with rising global softwood pulp producer inventory levels. As a result, NBSK US-dollar list prices to China dropped sharply throughout the quarter to end June at a low of US$648 per tonne.

For the current quarter overall, US-dollar NBSK pulp list prices to China averaged US$668 per tonne, down US$223 per tonne, or 25%, from the previous quarter. Prices to other global regions experienced less pronounced declines in the current period, with the average US-dollar NBSK pulp list price to North America at US$1,510 per tonne (before discounts), down US$165 per tonne, or 10%, from the prior quarter.

Global softwood pulp producer inventories climbed substantially throughout the current quarter and, at the end of May 2023 were significantly above the balanced range at 54 days of supply, an increase of five days from March 2023. (Market conditions are generally considered balanced when inventories are within a normal range of 32-43 days of supply).

Pulp production was down 17% from the previous quarter, mainly due to the aforementioned operating platform changes, and, to a lesser extent, operational challenges at the Company's Northwood NBSK pulp mill in the current period.

Operating income in the Company's paper segment was $0.7 million, down $2.6 million from the previous quarter, as a reduction in slush pulp costs, linked to lower Canadian dollar NBSK pulp market prices, was more than outweighed by a decrease in paper production and shipments as a result of a scheduled maintenance outage completed in the current period, as well as higher energy costs quarter-over-quarter.

Looking Forward

Looking forward, global softwood kraft pulp markets are anticipated to remain challenging through the third quarter of 2023, as record high global pulp producer inventory levels are projected to continue to be met with weak global pulp demand, particularly for paper and writing grades. In addition, the traditionally slower summer months are anticipated to further soften global pulp demand, particularly in the short-term. The Company will continue to monitor the challenging market conditions and will adjust operating rates, if appropriate, through the balance of 2023.

The labour dispute at the Ports of Vancouver and Prince Rupert that commenced on July 1, 2023, put pressure on a constrained logistics network in British Columbia. As a direct result, with pulp mill inventories at capacity, the Company curtailed its Northwood pulp mill in July for approximately one week, with an estimated 10,000 tonnes of reduced NBSK pulp production.

Results in the third quarter of 2023 are also forecast to reflect a scheduled maintenance outage at Northwood in September, with a projected 25,000 tonnes of reduced NBSK pulp production, as well as higher associated maintenance costs and lower projected shipment volume. As part of this outage, the Company will complete an inspection of its assets at this facility, including the two recovery boilers, with the intention of formulating a re-investment plan for Northwood's recovery boiler number one ("RB1"), as well as the facility as a whole, that is focused on optimizing this mill for the long-term.

Bleached kraft paper markets are anticipated to weaken through the third quarter of 2023, particularly in the North American markets, as tepid demand is combined with above-average paper inventory levels.

Canfor Pulp Products Inc. (TSX: CFX) is a leading global supplier of pulp and paper products with operations in the central interior of British Columbia. Canfor Pulp owns and operates two mills in Prince George, BC with a total capacity of 780,000 tonnes of Premium Reinforcing Northern Bleached Softwood Kraft Pulp and 140,000 tonnes of kraft paper.

SOURCE: Canfor Pulp Products Inc.

 

Thunder Bay Pulp and Paper

Thunder Bay Pulp and Paper Acquires Thunder Bay Mill from Resolute

Aug. 1, 2023 - Atlas Holdings today announced the closing of the previously announced acquisition of the pulp, newsprint and directory paper mill operations in Thunder Bay, Ontario, from Resolute FP Canada Inc. by Atlas' affiliate, Thunder Bay Pulp and Paper Inc.

Thunder Bay is a leading northern bleached softwood kraft and northern bleached hardwood kraft pulp, paper, newsprint and directory producer. The mill has been a landmark in northwestern Ontario for more than a century.

Kent Ramsay, who has served as General Manager of the Mill since 2019, has been named President of Thunder Bay Pulp and Paper.

"The Atlas team has been working hand-in-hand with our local team to prepare for this day as we begin the next chapter of this Mill's storied history," said Ramsay. "I am proud to continue to lead this team and work with Atlas to stand up the Mill as a thriving, self-sufficient pulp and paper operation and continue our legacy as a hallmark of the Thunder Bay community for many years to come."

Atlas also announced the appointment of paper and packaging industry executive Randy Nebel as Chairman of the Thunder Bay Pulp and Paper Board of Directors. Nebel has extensive experience in the pulp and paper sector, having previously served as President and CEO of Verso Corporation, and President of Longview Paper & Packaging.

Most recently, Nebel has served as Chairman of the Board of Crown Paper Group, which Atlas acquired in October 2022.

"The Board is looking forward to guiding Thunder Bay Pulp and Paper in this new era for the business," said Nebel. "Our deep experience across the pulp and paper industry and time spent supporting businesses with Canadian operations will provide the right foundation and guidance for Thunder Bay as we continue to be a trusted employer as well as a reliable partner to our customers, suppliers, and the Thunder Bay community."

In a press statement, Resolute said that it will continue to operate its sawmills and woodlands operations in Northwestern Ontario. With the closing of the transaction, the parties have entered into certain ancillary agreements, including a long-term woodchip and biomass supply agreement pursuant to which Resolute will continue to provide chips and biomass to the Thunder Bay mill.

Thunder Bay Pulp and Paper is a leading northern bleached softwood kraft and northern bleached hardwood kraft pulp, paper, newsprint and directory producer.

SOURCE: Thunder Bay Pulp and Paper

 

loading pulp on vessel

Exports of Pulp from Brazil Climb to USD 4.1 Billion in First Half 2023; China, North America, Main Destinations

Aug. 22, 2023 - The Brazilian Tree Industry (Ibá) reported that for the first half of 2023, pulp exports from Brazil increased by 8.2%, totaling USD 4.1 billion, driven by sales to China and North America. The balance generated by pulp exports to China increased by 25.4% and to North America by 19.9% in the first half of 2023.

The value of paper exports to North America also increased by 20.8%, reaching R$ 130.8 million between January and June.

In the first half of 2023, the increase in pulp exports to China positioned the country as the main destination for exports of pulp produced in Brazil, reaching USD 1.8 billion traded in the first six months of 2023, followed by Europe with USD 1 billion.

With regard to paper, Latin America continues to be Brazil's main buyer and totaled USD 824 million in sales for the product.

In the first half of 2023, Brazilian pulp production reached 12 million tons. Paper manufacturing reached 5.3 million tons in the period. The production of paper for packaging was 2.9 million tons and for sanitary purposes 701,000 tons (an increase of 4.6%).

Paper sales in Brazil in the first half totaled 2.6 million tons. Wood panels, in turn, totaled 3.4 million m3.

Pulp exports between January and June totaled 9.1 million tons — growth of 1.5%. Paper totaled 1.1 million tons traded with other countries in the first half of 2023. Wooden panels, in turn, reached 499,000 m3 exported.

The Brazilian Tree Industry (Ibá) is the association responsible for the institutional representation of the planted tree production chain, from the field to the industry, along with its main stakeholders. Launched in April 2014, it represents 49 companies and nine state entities of products originating from the cultivation of planted trees — wood panels, laminated floors, cellulose, paper, energy forests and biomass — in addition to independent producers of planted trees and institutional investors.

 

Northwood Pulp

Canfor Pulp Temporarily Curtailing Northwood Pulp Mill Due to Ongoing Labour Dispute at B.C. Ports

July 12, 2023 - Canfor Pulp Products Inc. is announcing the curtailment of its Northwood Pulp Mill in Prince George, British Columbia, Canada, effective July 13, 2023.

The curtailment is due to limited storage space for pulp products that cannot be transported overseas as a result of the ongoing labour dispute at B.C. ports.

The downtime is expected to remain in place for the duration of the labour dispute and will remove approximately 11,000 tonnes of market kraft pulp per week.

"We are urging the federal government to take action to bring a swift end to the labour dispute at the Ports of Vancouver and Prince Rupert,” said Kevin Edgson, President and CEO of Canfor Pulp. “As a result of the strike, we are unable to ship approximately 70% of our pulp products to customers in Asia.

"We regret that our Northwood employees are being impacted as a result of a separate labour dispute and we recognize the effect it will have on them, their families, our suppliers and the community," Edgson added.

The Northwood pulp mill has the capacity to produce 510,000 air-dried metric tonnes per year of Premium Bleached Softwood Kraft Pulp.

Canfor Pulp Products Inc. (TSX: CFX) is a leading global supplier of pulp and paper products with operations in the central interior of British Columbia. Canfor Pulp owns and operates three mills in Prince George, BC with a total capacity of 780,000 tonnes of Premium Reinforcing Northern Bleached Softwood Kraft ("NBSK") Pulp and 140,000 tonnes of kraft paper.

SOURCE: Canfor Pulp Products Inc.

 
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