Pulp and Paper


UPM Permanently Cuts 485,000 Tonnes of Graphic Paper Capacity in Europe

June 28, 2023 - UPM has decided to close 485,000 tonnes of graphic paper capacity in Europe. The company permanently closes paper machine 6 at UPM Schongau, Germany, and paper machine 4 at UPM Steyrermühl, Austria. The decision is based on the plans announced in June 2022 and in March 2023.

The employee consultation process in Schongau was conducted in line with local legislations and has now been finalized. The number of persons affected is 136 for the site. The uncoated publication paper machine 6 will be permanently closed today.

UPM Schongau continues graphic paper production on the remaining cost-competitive machines.

"We held constructive and fair employee discussions to reduce the impact of the paper machine closure on our personnel. Together with the employee representatives, we focused on countering the circumstances, primarily through partial retirement measures," said Wolfgang Ohnesorg, General Manager, UPM Schongau.

"Additionally, we took the opportunity to implement structural changes to make our site fit for future challenges. I would like to express my sincere thanks to our entire workforce, which has managed to transfer all paper grades previously produced on PM 6 to PM 9 in such a short time frame," Ohnesorg concluded.

UPM Communication Papers ended the newspaper production at its Steyrermühl mill today. As already communicated in March 2023 we thereby accelerate the plans to ensure competitive production at our remaining newsprint paper machines in Europe. This decision will have no impact on the plans for the Steyrermühl site and its employees as communicated on 21 June 2022.

Ernst Spitzbart, General Manager, UPM Steyrermühl, said, "I admire the professionalism and flexibility of our employees, who are already working conscientiously to integrate UPM Steyrermühl into the Heinzel Group. The new owner will take over the responsibility for the site and thus also for the employees after the closing of the transaction is completed at the beginning of 2024."

UPM delivers renewable and responsible solutions and innovates for a future beyond fossils across six business areas: UPM Biorefining, UPM Energy, UPM Raflatac, UPM Specialty Papers, UPM Communication Papers and UPM Plywood.



Hinton Pulp

Mondi to Acquire Hinton Pulp Mill from West Fraser for USD 5 Million

July 10, 2023 - Mondi has agreed to acquire the 250,000 tonne per year Hinton Pulp mill in Alberta, Canada, from West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd (West Fraser) for a total consideration of USD 5 million.

As part of the transaction, Mondi will enter into a long-term partnership with West Fraser to access local, high-quality fibre from a well-established wood basket.

The intention, subject to pre-engineering and permitting, is to invest EUR 400 million in the expansion of Hinton, primarily for a new 200,000 tonne per year kraft paper machine, anticipated to be operational from the second half of 2027.

According to Mondi, the acquisition of the mill, and investment in the paper machine, will fully integrate operations in the Americas and enable Mondi to secure the long-term supply of high quality, cost competitive kraft paper into its network of 10 paper bags plants in the region, better positioning Mondi to support the growing market demand for industrial and mailer bags.

"Strategically, we are focused on investing to support the growing market demand for our sustainable packaging products, while delivering attractive mid-teen returns through cycle," said Andrew King, CEO of Mondi. "The acquisition of Hinton is an excellent opportunity for us to secure locally produced kraft paper for our bags customers, helping to meet the current and anticipated future growth in demand for industrial and mailer bags in the Americas.

"We are delighted to be making this investment in Canada and look forward to working with Hinton colleagues, West Fraser as a long-term partner, and other local stakeholders towards improving the mill's environmental footprint and securing its sustainable future," King added.

The acquisition is subject to customary regulatory clearance and is expected to close towards the end of 2023.

Mondi is a global leader in packaging and paper, offering innovative and sustainable packaging and paper solutions. The company is fully integrated across the packaging and paper value chain.

SOURCE: Mondi plc

IFPTA editor's note: The Hinton pulp mill has two production lines. However, in 2022, West Fraser permanently shut one of the lines and changed the pulp grade on the remaining line to produce Unbleached Kraft Pulp ("UKP") rather than Northern Bleached Softwood Kraft Pulp ("NBSK"). When both production lines were operational, the pulp mill had the capacity to produce 380,000 metric tonnes per year of NBSK.


UPM Pulp loading Saga Welco

First Shipment of Pulp from UPM Paso de los Toros Mill Sailed from Montevideo

May 30, 2023 - UPM and Saga Welco AS announce that the loading of the first shipment of pulp from the state-of-the-art UPM Paso de los Toros pulp mill has been successfully completed at UPM’s new deep sea pulp terminal in Montevideo, Uruguay.

The M/V Saga Faith sailed on Friday, 26 May, carrying a full ship load of about 50,000 tonnes of UPM Euca pulp to Asia, where the vessel is expected to arrive around mid-July.

A commemorative ceremony was held 23 May to see the loading operation of the vessel at the UPM pulp terminal in the port of Montevideo with the attendance of Uruguay’s Minister of Transport, José Luis Falero.

UPM’s pulp terminal in the port of Montevideo started operations in October 2022. The highly specialised, fit-for-purpose pulp terminal operates 24/7 with an annual operating capacity of over 2 million tonnes of pulp and 80 ships per year. The terminal employs 100 people, reaching 200 during the loading and unloading of cargo ships. The terminal includes a large storage warehouse of over 50,000 square meters with capacity to store 150,000 tonnes of pulp, a control room, logistics spaces and offices. UPM operates the terminal on a 50-year concession.

The USD 240 million port investment is a fundamental part of UPM’s USD 3.47 billion growth investment in Uruguay that includes besides the port also the Paso de los Toros pulp mill, which started operations 15 April 2023, and investments in local facilities in Paso de los Toros.

Saga Faith is the most modern open hatch box shaped drybulk carrier equipped with two travelling gantry cranes each having the lifting capacity of 42 tonnes and outreach of 9 metres. She was built in 2019 at Oshima Dockyard in Nagasaki, Japan, and has 55,807 tonnes of dead weight capacity, and her length overall is 199,9 metres.

UPM and Saga Welco AS are partners with a long-term maritime transport agreement for the transportation of the UPM Euca pulp from the ports of Nueva Palmira and Montevideo to customers around the world.

Saga Welco AS is an international shipping company that offers high quality solutions for the transport of forest products and bulk cargoes. The company has its headquarters in Norway and several regional offices in strategic locations around the world. Saga Welco operates the world’s largest fleet of open hatch vessels with travelling gantry cranes tailor made for carriage of unitized wood pulp.



WestRock North Charleston paper mill

WestRock to Close Paper Mill in North Charleston, South Carolina

May 2, 2023 - WestRock today announced it will permanently cease operating its paper mill in North Charleston, South Carolina, on August 31, 2023.

"WestRock and its predecessor companies have had a long history in the region operating the North Charleston mill, and the contributions of the team members over the years have been greatly appreciated," said David B. Sewell, CEO at WestRock. "The decision to close a facility and impact the lives of our team members is never easy, and we are committed to assisting our North Charleston team with exploring roles at other WestRock locations and outplacement assistance."

The North Charleston mill produces containerboard, uncoated kraft paper (KraftPak®), and unbleached saturating kraft paper (DuraSorb®), with a combined annual capacity of 550,000 tons. Containerboard and uncoated kraft currently produced at the mill will be manufactured at other WestRock facilities.

WestRock intends to exit the unbleached saturating kraft paper business when the mill shutdown is completed.

WestRock is committed to improving its return on invested capital as well as maximizing the performance of its assets. The combination of high operating costs and the need for significant capital investment were the determining factors in the decision to cease operations at the mill.

The North Charleston mill employs approximately 500 people. Employees will receive severance and outplacement assistance in accordance with WestRock policy and labor union agreements.

WestRock Company (NYSE: WRK) is a global leader in sustainable paper and packaging solutions, with more than 50,000 teammates in the Americas, Europe and Asia-Pacific.

SOURCE: WestRock


Norske Skog

Norske Skog Bruck Begins Commercial Deliveries of Recycled Containerboard

May 16, 2023 - Norske Skog Bruck announces successful commercial orders of the containerboard grades Testliner 3 and Fluting. This represents the introduction of 210,000 tonnes of competitive containerboard capacity to meet the growing demand for renewable and re-usable packaging. The production is based 100% on recycled fibre and will use steam from the waste-to-energy plant, which opened in April 2022.

"We are delighted to have received our first commercial orders of Strato Testliner 3 and Fluting, which underlines that customers have tested our paper successfully. This is a significant milestone that demonstrates our commitment to the packaging market, and we look forward to further expanding our product offering in the future," says Tore Hansesaere, SVP Strategic Projects at Norske Skog.

In early April, Norske Skog started production of recycled containerboard at its Bruck mill in Styria, Austria. Bruck mill's PM3 was converted from the production of newsprint to testliner and fluting, and has the capacity to produce 210,000 tonnes per year.

Norske Skog Bruck is now ramping up production and expects full utilisation of 95% in the second half of 2025.

The successful commercial orders of Strato Testliner 3 and Fluting mark a new era for Norske Skog and strengthen the company's asset base and cash flow generation for decades ahead.

Norske Skog is a world leading producer of publication paper with strong market positions and customer relations in Europe and Australasia. The Norske Skog Group operates four mills in Europe, two of which will produce recycled packaging paper following ongoing conversion projects. In addition, the Group operates one paper mill in Australia.

SOURCE: Norsdke Skog

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