Pulp and Paper Industry 2022 Year in Review

This content is being republished with the consent of Fisher International and ResourceWise. Read more about Pulp and Paper Industry at ResourceWise. Dec 20’22

Pulp and Paper is an industry experiencing rapid growth in the current market. New inventions and trends are seen to be sprouting in a variety of fields. Numerous industries have advanced through diverse products ranging from tissues and towels to cutting-edge paper sales.

While digitalization together with the idea of sustainable development has certainly caused the priorities of people to shift from paper to screens, the paper and pulp industry still seems to be booming as of 2022.

The first half of the year definitely saw a decline in the sector’s production rate due to various factors like strikes among workers and the Russian-Ukrainian war but the latter half of the year saw slow and steady growth in the industry.

What caused a disruption in the supply of pulp in Early 2022?

The first disruption was the strike initiated by The Paperworkers’ Union on 1st January 2022 in many Finnish Mills. Over 2000 union members were a part of the strike that lasted till April.

Many workers of UPM ceased their work in various parts of Finland throughout the first half of the year while the strike continued, making it difficult to open all of UPM’s paper mills. Since UPM is a big supplier of label materials globally, these strikes exacerbated the paper shortages that were already being stressed by the increased demand and lack of resources from last year, making it more challenging to solve the supply chain issues.

Another major disruption was the Russian Invasion of Ukraine. Toward the end of February 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin initiated an attack on Ukraine. This triggered military action across the country and caused the paper and pulp industries in Ukraine to halt production, resulting in a disruption of supply chains.

In retaliation, Europe, Russia’s second-largest trading partner, joined NATO in implementing strict sanctions on Russian goods, which has essentially put an end to the trading of timber and forest products between Russia and the West.

The immense impact this invasion had on the world economy caused many businesses in different sectors to struggle for the majority of this year, and some of these consequences may continue into the
next year.

Trends responsible for the growth of p&p Industries in 2022

In 2022, the Pulp and Paper industry’s main five grades were cartonboard, market pulp, printing and writing, tissue, and towel – a lineup that has invariably topped the rankings for many years.

Despite widespread unfavorable perceptions, the paper and pulp sector is still expanding, mostly due to industry executives’ innovative responses to disruptions and shifts in customer demand for more environmentally friendly products.

Some of the major factors increasing the market demand for pulp and paper while fostering the growth of these industries include the following:

Increased demand for packaging

For the past two years, the demand for paper-based packaging in Europe has constantly risen.

Source: Fisher International

©[2023] Fisher International (ResourceWise). All rights reserved.

This year, the folding carton board has been the most sought-after item, and the demand is projected to rise by 4.9%.

The shift in consumer buying habits to online shopping due to the Covid-19 pandemic has also had an effect on the demand for packaging, as most e-commerce packaging is crafted from cardboard, thus requiring a greater demand for alternative packaging options.

In April of this year, the Plastic Packaging Tax was put into effect in the UK, which prohibits companies from utilizing or importing items packaged in plastic that contains less than 30% recycled content. This led to a greater demand for different sustainable packaging alternatives throughout the nation.

Unfortunately, the packaging sector has had to deal with a rapid increase in prices due to the increased demand for packaging solutions and supply chains that have been disrupted by international conflicts.

Technology in production

The paper industry is seeing an ongoing progression in technology, with new, innovative solutions being used to boost productivity and product excellence.

A recent advancement is the installation of smart sensors, which can measure and monitor the pulp and papermaking process to increase productivity, quality, and adaptability. Experts anticipate that the sector will benefit greatly from this new tech.

These advanced sensors are able to work without wires in high temperatures which aids in lowering total energy use. If the P&P industries keep developing such cutting-edge technology, they will certainly be able to boost their production.

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