Pulp and Paper

fluff pulp logistics

Spotlight: Domtar’s Supply Chain & Transportation Logistics

Jan. 18, 2023 (Domtar - Industry Insights) - Many aspects of business changed when the global COVID-19 pandemic began almost three years ago — perhaps none more than supply chain and transportation logistics.

Our supply chain and transportation logistics professionals acted with agility and innovation to find new ways to get our customers their pulp products when every mode of transportation was bogged down, slowing the movement of goods throughout the world.

At Domtar, the shortage of vessel space, containers, rail cars and over-the-road trucks during and after the pandemic created new shipping challenges. Goods that couldn’t be shipped right away needed to be stored. At times, we held more than 100,000 tons of backlogged pulp product at our mills waiting to be exported.

Domtar Transportation Director Debbie Campbell and her team knew they had to think differently to get that product to customers.

In the last six months alone, the team reduced outstanding pulp backlog by more than 80 percent, restoring Domtar’s inventory back to pre-pandemic levels and, more importantly, getting product to customers.

“Capacity slowly started flowing again when consumers returned to spending their money on travel and services and less on material goods. It’s finally starting to realign with demand,” Campbell says. “But we had to put a lot of new processes in place to get through the excess pulp inventory that built up.”

The lessons learned through the pandemic have made our shipping processes more efficient going forward.

“Inventory reduction was key,” says Greg Linscott, pulp operations vice president. “Our customers needed product, and we needed to be able to get it to them. The transportation and logistics team did a great job working directly with our mill teams to find new ways to move product and reduce inventory backlogs.”

Thinking outside the (container) box at Plymouth

Between 85 and 90 percent of fluff pulp made at our Plymouth, North Carolina, mill is shipped overseas.

Pre-pandemic, Plymouth was considered the least complex mill from which to ship fluff pulp to customers overseas because of its nearness to the Port of Norfolk in Virginia. But during the pandemic, it was harder to secure space on vessels than ever.

Without reliable access to containers and vessels, Domtar could no longer rely on one port to accommodate its shipments.

Working directly with supply chain and transportation logistics professionals at the mill, as well as suppliers, the transportation team sought other options. They secured temporary warehouse space near alternate ports in Wilmington, North Carolina, and Savannah, Georgia. With product located at several different ports, the team could act quickly to get it on ships when containers came available, greatly increasing the likelihood of product reaching customers in a timely manner.

In unique cases the team used break-bulk freight to ship pulp to European customers. Instead of being loaded on the top of a ship in a container, the pulp is instead secured in the hull of the ship. When available, break-bulk ships are more versatile than container ships because they use different loading and off-loading ports.

Decoupling mill and port schedules at Marlboro

The Marlboro Mill in South Carolina faced some similar challenges. Before the pandemic, baled pulp bound to overseas customers from Marlboro was loaded into shipping containers, then trucked to port in Charleston.

But because of increasing variability in shipping schedules and port congestion, the process wasn’t meeting our needs. It became cumbersome to constantly schedule and reschedule shipments based on vessel availability. To eliminate the need to ship product only when vessels were available, the team partnered with a container depot near the port so that product could be shipped to the depot ahead of time. From there, our partners could load it into containers and take it to port when the vessel arrived.

“The process improvements we put in place because of the pandemic are things we never needed to think about before,” Campbell says. “But now that they’re a part of our normal operating procedure, we’re better prepared to handle supply chain disruptions that might happen in the future.”

SOURCE: Domtar


Canfor Prince George mill

Canfor Pulp to Permanently Close Kraft Pulp Line at Prince George Mill

Jan. 12, 2023 - Following extensive analysis of its operating footprint and the long-term supply of economic residual fibre, Canfor Pulp Products is announcing the decision to permanently close the pulp line at its Prince George Pulp and Paper Mill located in British Columbia, Canada.

The closure of the pulp line will result in a reduction of 280,000 tonnes per year of market kraft pulp.

Canfor pulp said the Specialty Paper facility at the site will continue to operate.

"In recent years, several sawmills have permanently closed in the Prince George region due to reductions in the allowable annual cut and challenges accessing cost-competitive fibre," explained Kevin Edgson, President and CEO of Canfor Pulp. "This has had a material impact on the availability of residual fibre for our pulp facilities and we need to right-size our operating platform. As a result, we have made the very difficult decision to shut down the pulp line at Prince George Pulp and Paper Mill and will continue to operate the Specialty Paper facility."

Over the next few months, Canfor Pulp will be following an orderly wind-down process. The pulp line is expected to close by the end of the first quarter of 2023 and is anticipated to impact approximately 300 positions across the organization by the end of the year.

"We greatly appreciate our valued team members who have been helping to navigate a very challenging business environment," Edgson said. "We understand and regret the impact today's announcement has on our employees, their families, the businesses that support our operations, and the local community. We will be working in the weeks and months ahead to support our employees through this transition."

Canfor Pulp Products 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 1.1 million tonnes of Premium Reinforcing Northern Bleached Softwood Kraft ("NBSK") Pulp and 140,000 tonnes of kraft paper, as well as one mill in Taylor, BC with an annual production capacity of 230,000 tonnes of Bleached Chemi-Thermo Mechanical Pulp ("BCTMP").

SOURCE: Canfor Pulp Products Inc.


International Forest Products Promotes Michael Collins to Senior Vice President

Michael CollinsJan. 6, 2023 - International Forest Products (IFP) today announced the promotion of Michael Collins to the position of Senior Vice President of IFP.

Collins joined IFP in 2008 and has served in a wide variety of roles, including logistics, sales operations and trading. He will continue to oversee IFP’s domestic containerboard trading; however, as part of his new role, he will also focus on strategies to improve IFP’s operational efficiency and to prepare the company for future growth.

Collins will also assume responsibility for IFP’s Market Intelligence and Information Technology departments.

“I am thrilled that Michael has accepted this position at IFP,” said Daniel Kraft, President and Chief Executive Officer of IFP. “Over the past 14 years, he has been a loyal and committed member of our team, and his exceptional efforts have had a direct impact on the growth of our business.”

SOURCE: International Forest Products


VR Transpoint

Metsä Group and VR Intensify Their Cooperation on Sustainability

Jan. 3, 2023 - Both Metsä Group and VR are companies with major role in the society and they therefore play an important part in improving environmental performance and responsibility. The companies are intensifying their cooperation on sustainability in logistics and have agreed a new joint target to halve emissions from transport covered by their cooperation by 2030. In addition, Metsä Group aims to transfer some of its current road transports to railways.

For Metsä Group, the measures would represent a total emission reduction of around 14,000 tCO2e per year, which is equivalent to more than 25,000 average lorry journeys.

“One of Metsä Group’s strategic sustainability goals for 2030 is to reduce the fossil emissions of our operations and fossil-based materials,” said Jari Voutilainen, SVP, Sourcing and Logistics, from Metsä Group. “We have already made good progress in achieving this goal at our mills and would like to see similar development in our supply chain.

“VR is an important partner for Metsä Group in the logistics of both wood raw material and products, and together we can achieve significant improvements in our environmental performance,” Voutilainen added.

Metsä Group and VR have set up a joint working group to define concrete ways to achieve the emissions reduction target. The measures include the electrification of the rail network, more efficient train concepts and the use of diesel made from renewable raw materials.

Eljas Koistinen, Senior Vice President, VR Transpoint, commented, “Sustainability is a key part of the strategy of both VR and Metsä Group. Together, we reduce emissions from transport and accelerate the transition to a carbon neutral Finland.

“In principle, rail transport is the most energy-efficient mode of transport with the lowest emissions, and it plays a critical role in mitigating climate change. As a strong partner to industry, we are helping our customers achieve their environmental goals,” Koistinen said.

Every year, VR transports around 5 million cubic metres of Metsä Group’s wood and mechanical wood products and 2.1 million tonnes of other forest industry products such as pulp and paperboard. With Metsä Group’s ongoing investments, transport volumes will increase.

SOURCE: Metsä Group


UPM Paso de los Toros pulp mill

UPM in Final Phases of Construction on Its Eucalyptus Pulp Mill in Uruguay

Dec. 23, 2022 - UPM is finalizing the construction works of the greenfield eucalyptus pulp mill in Uruguay and enters the final phases of the project. The start-up of the 2.1 million tonne/year mill near Paso de los Toros is expected by the end of the first quarter of 2023.

While the project work continues intensively, the finalization of the construction works is an important milestone in the project. Since the investment decision in July 2019, over 20,000 people have been involved in the various construction sites related to the growth investment, including the construction of the Paso de los Toros mill, the pulp terminal in the port of Montevideo and the 11 housing areas around Paso de los Toros.

The project now proceeds with the finalization of the electrical, instrumental and automation works and commissioning.

The auxiliary boilers and power boilers have been commissioned. Water intake and water treatment process as well as the process air system are already in use.

The recovery boiler testing has started and is advancing well, and commissioning is progressing in all process areas.

UPM Pulp

UPM is one of the world's leading producers of northern softwood, birch and eucalyptus pulp, supplying global customers in end use segments such as tissue, specialty, packaging and graphic papers, and board, through our own sales and technical service networks close to customers in the APAC region and Europe.

UPM Pulp employs approximately 2,000 people and operates four modern pulp mills — three in Finland and one in Uruguay — as well as eucalyptus plantations in Uruguay. The combined production capacity of the mills is 3.7 million tonnes per year.

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


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