Posts Tagged ‘paper’

  • Phew!– here comes the $6.5 million Stink Bug Season

    Imports of pulp paper and paper board from high-risk countries Sept’17 – April’18.

    Cost to control the invasive Brown Marmorated Stink Bug in pulp, paper and wood products this year will likely add to price hikes for paper to printers. According to a special briefing issued by industry authority, Paper Edge, the cost will be in the millions is likely to delay paper deliveries.

    The Stink Bug pest is found in products from countries such as the USA, Italy, Germany and France. Paper from Japan has a lower risk.  Imports from the USA are most likely to be impacted, accounting for 44 per cent of total high-risk shipments.

    Efforts to fumigate containers when they arrive means Australia’s pulp, paper and paperboard importers and end-users face significant cost increases – totalling potentially more than AUD6.5 million. Significant delays in onshore treatment are expected, meaning that importers will routinely face additional container detention costs and customers may face delayed deliveries, if treatment has to occur in Australia. Costs of container fumigation in Australia are between $500 and $1,000 per container; less if it’s done offshore.

    Importers are reported to be reluctant to undertake offshore treatment as a matter of course, except in specific circumstances where risk assessments and physical inspections indicate that the Stink Bug may to be present. Stink Bug is not found in Australia. If it made its way into the country, agricultural industries and products would be particularly vulnerable to both the juvenile and adult stink bugs. In the past six years, it has spread significantly across North America, and Europe. Stink bug season is reckoned to be from 1 September to 30 April.

    The  bugs feed on and can severely damage fruit and vegetable crops rendering them unsellable. They can also be a nuisance, entering vehicles, homes and factories for shelter over winter. Among the products identified  as being at risk by the Department of Agriculture are wood pulp, recovered (waste and scrap) paper or paperboard; paper and paperboard; articles of paper pulp, of paper or of paperboard: printed books, newspapers, pictures and other products of the printing industry; manuscripts, typescripts and plans.

    Stink bugs have a characteristic and unpleasant smell when disturbed or crushed. Not only is their smell offensive but they aggregate in large numbers in people’s homes and feed on ornamental  and native trees and shrubs.

  • Third paper hike this year as pulp prices soar

    Paper merchants Spicers, Ball & Doggett and Direct Paper have all announced price rises of between 3%-8%, citing increases in pulp, energy costs, shipping and the depreciation of the Australian dollar.

    This will be the third price rise this year with Australia’s three largest paper merchants predicting more are on the way. Alternative uses for pulp as well as mill closures across the globe are changing the dynamics of paper manufacturing and supply. Print is having to adjust its prices everywhere.

    “As we move into the second half of the year, the increases in global pulp pricing show no signs of letting up, with all of our key suppliers remaining under enormous pressure to review their pricing into this market,” Ball & Doggett’s state manager NSW James McGrath advised customers in an email.

    “As you can see from the chart below, pulp prices continued to rise over the last quarter and are projected to continue for the rest of the year. To compound this, there continues to be increases in energy, ocean freight and a depreciating AUD against our major currency trading partners.”McGrath says Ball & Doggett has been able to absorb some increases through internal operational efficiency gains. “Unfortunately, we are unable to absorb all increases and as such we are advising that effective Monday 3rd September we are implementing price increases across our range as follows:

    Coated Paper & Board 6%; Uncoated Sheets (Imported) 6% (Local) 4%; Grange Carbonless Sheets 4%; Synthetic Sheets 3%; Packaging Boards 5%;
Specialty Papers 4%; Rigid Media 5%;
 Foils 6%.

    Spicers’ David Rowland, group regional manager, NSW/ACT/QLD, says its paper prices will rise between 3% and 7%, effective Monday 10th September.

    “As I am sure you are aware, our highly competitive industry continues to be challenging for all participants with further increases in input costs and direct costs of materials through manufacturer increases, power cost and freight,” Rowland told customers via email. “Spicers has tried to internally mitigate the severity of these costs, however recently we have received further price increases from our suppliers.

    “In order to ensure the sustainability of our channels, Spicers has no option but to pass through at least a portion of these incremental costs to our market. Our portfolio will be impacted as set our below:

    Coated Woodfree Folio Sheets and Digital 7%; All other Colour Commercial and Digital 5%; Industrial Packaging 3%. 

    Direct Paper is increasing its prices from between 5% and 8% from Monday 3rd September. “Whilst market conditions remain trying, this announcement will assist in recovering the higher costs passed on from our paper & paperboard manufacturers,” says Dale O’Neill, sales director, Direct Paper.

    Direct Paper price increases.

    “Please be aware that mill costs are continuing to increase and it may be necessary for us to revisit pricing over the coming months,” O’Neill says.

  • Australian Paper’s radical solution to power crisis

    Australian Paper’s mill at Maryvale, VIC.

    Australia’s only manufacturer of office, printing and packaging papers plans to build a $600 million power plant that would burn household rubbish to power its Maryvale paper mill and sell excess energy back to the grid.

    Australian Paper says the Energy from Waste project would be built next to its Maryvale facility in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley and would burn hundreds of thousands of tonnes of non-hazardous household rubbish to generate 225 megawatts of electricity. 

    The company has received $5 million in state and federal funding to conduct a feasibility study of the project and says it could go ahead within five years, if approved.

    The plant, which would replace two existing gas-fired boilers, would divert an estimated 650,000 tonnes of waste from landfill each year. It would not burn recyclables.

    “One of our immediate priorities is to stabilise our costs and one of the most significant focus areas is energy,” Australian Paper says in a statement. “Despite being Victoria’s largest generator of baseload renewable energy, we are the largest industrial user of natural gas in Victoria and also use significant quantities of coal-fired electricity. Like any other business or household in Australia, we are exposed to surges in energy prices and uncertainty of supply.

    “Australian Paper is proposing to develop a 225-megawatt thermal Energy from Waste (EfW) plant adjacent to the existing AP Maryvale Pulp and Paper Mill site on land owned by AP in the Latrobe Valley, Victoria. The aim of the proposed $600m EfW plant is to allow AP to attain a sustainable, long-term and stable alternative base load energy source to provide steam and electricity for the existing Maryvale Mill, which has been manufacturing paper since 1938.”

    From Australian Paper’s website.

    The company says the benefits of the scheme will include helping to secure the future of the Maryvale Mill – a key employer in the region with approximately 850 staff – and supporting an estimated 1,600 fulltime equivalent (FTE) jobs during the construction phase and 440 FTE jobs during the operational phase (direct and flow on) in Victoria.

    It would also cut greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 550,000 tonnes per year, which would be the equivalent of taking more than 100,000 cars off the road.

    “We want to address our future energy needs proactively, which is why we are carrying out a comprehensive Energy from Waste (EfW) feasibility study,” says the company.

    The study is expected to conclude in mid-2018.

    Australian Paper is owned by Japanese-based Nippon Paper Group, one of the 10 largest companies in the global forest, paper and packaging industry, with more than 20 paper mills in Japan and business interests in Asia, Oceania, North and South America and Europe. Australian Paper is Nippon Paper’s largest investment outside Japan.









  • Four countries dumped A4 paper: ADC

    A paper machine at Australian Paper’s Maryvale mill.

    Australian Paper welcomed the Anti-Dumping Commission’s decision to release a Preliminary Affirmative Determination (PAD) confirming that paper producers from Finland, Korea, Russia and Slovakia have been dumping A4 copy paper onto the local market.

    “Australian jobs and the future of the local industry remain under threat from low market pricing for copy paper,” says Australian Paper COO Peter Williams. “The ADC’s decision to impose preliminary dumping duties on paper from Finland, Korea, Russia and Slovakia is a welcome first step in this investigation.”

    ‘It is necessary to require and take securities’: Commissioner Dale Seymour, ADC.

    In his preliminary determination, Anti-Dumping Commissioner Dale Seymour said: “I am satisfied there appears to be sufficient grounds for the publication of a dumping duty notice in respect of the goods exported to Australia from Finland, Korea, Russia and Slovakia, and that it is necessary to require and take securities in relation to exports from Finland, Korea, Russia and Slovakia to prevent material injury to the Australian industry occurring while the investigation continues.”

    Russia last month said it would refuse to cooperate with the investigation and Finland also dismissed the allegations as “questionable.”

    Seymour says the Federal Government will “take securities in respect of interim dumping duties that may become payable on the goods imported from those four countries and entered for home consumption in Australia on or after Monday, 21 May 2018.”

    The commission found there were not sufficient grounds “at this stage” to make a PAD in relation to the goods exported from Austria – the 5thcountry accused of dumping.

    The investigation followed an application for a dumping notice by Australian Paper, Australia’s only office paper manufacturer, which said the local A4 copy paper market had suffered “material injury” caused by cheap A4 copy paper exported to Australia.

    “Ongoing capital investment in local manufacturing is dependent upon fair market pricing,” says Williams. “Copy paper prices in Australia remain at historical lows and it is important that fairness is restored for the successful future of paper manufacturing in the Latrobe Valley.”

    Australian Paper, owned by Japan’s Nippon Paper Industries, is the largest private employer in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley. The company says it supports over 5,700 jobs nationally and contributes more than $900 million to Australia’s annual GDP.

  • Paper cut to a digital measure – Print21 feature

    Digital printing has changed the dynamic of the paper supply chain away from large offset sheets towards smaller sizes, with digitally certified paper now being promoted as an essential part of the production process. But is it really? Or will cheaper offset paper do just as well? As printers resort to the guillotine to shave their costs, no one knows how much offset paper is going through digital machines – and what that does to the machine warranty. Patrick Howard follows the paper trail in search of the money.

    Printers are breaking out of their technology straitjackets. They are no longer confined by practice or tradition to one form of production. The mixing of digital and offset printing and the switching between them according to the demands of the job are now second nature to most commercial printers. This is changing the way the industry operates, not just in production but on the supply side too. Nowhere is the change more distinct than in the paper chain.

    Digital printing is driving demand for paper away from large offset sheets to smaller cut sheets. Digitally certified SRA3 sheets have become the benchmark product for the burgeoning commercial digital printing sector. At a sheet size of 320 x 450mm (as opposed to A3 at 297 x 420mm), SRA3 is a true digital printing sheet, with enough margin to be printed full bleed and trimmed. Best estimates put consumption of this sheet size in Australia at 20,000 plus tonnes per annum.

    But tonnage tells only half the story. While all digital engine manufacturers insist that only certified papers be used in their machines, many printers are more relaxed about cutting up large offset sheets and using the nominally cheaper paper for digital printing. The practice is widespread, especially among the bigger commercial printers. It provokes endless debate and no little acrimony whenever digital presses break down and the vendor discovers the printer is using non-certified offset sheets. Fuji Xerox Supplies even writes it into its maintenance agreement that only certified paper be used.

    Costing on average between 10-15 per cent more than offset sheets, digitally certified, mill-cut SRA3 is the fastest growing paper sector at a time when the overall consumption of paper is declining. But no one really knows how big the market really is.

    The million-dollar question

    “How much SRA3 is going through digital engines? That’s the million dollar question,” comments Rohan Dean, emerging business manager, Spicers.

    “All merchants want their paper to be regarded as unique so they can charge a little more. So they make sure their brands are digitally certified as well as with all the environmental certifications. But a printer with a good A1 (650 x 910mm) sheet on a pallet for his offset presses is likely to go over and cut it up into four SRA3s when he needs a few sheets for a digital job.

    “If you factor in the time and effort that involves, the cost saving may be negligible, but this is likely to be more common than not. It means printers don’t have to carry more than one size of paper. Many printers are prepared to push the envelope and run the risk by testing offset papers in their machines.”

    The number of digitally certified grades is increasing as presses become more sophisticated and the range of products printed becomes more diversified. As a result, everyone is keen to have as many types of paper digitally certified as possible, with HP Indigo already up in the hundreds of grades. Both the press manufacturers and the mills, along with the merchants, are keen to expand their range of certified substrates.

    There is a premium added to the price of paper that is digitally certified, which means there is now a constant stream of new papers coming from mills that are promoted as being specifically engineered for digital printing. In addition, many well-established offset grades, such as Spicer’s Monza, are now certified for digital presses.

    “The demand for digital papers is growing all the time. In addition to coated and uncoated, we carry synthetic grades, which were once a big no-no for digital,” says Dean. “Then there are digital self-adhesives and carbonless, which previously were unable to go through digital presses. There are specialities for photo books and canvas quality. The list is growing all the time. They are all niche products but more printers are looking for them.”

    Treat it properly

    According to Phil Rennell, marketing director Currie Group, the problem with offset stocks is less to do with the type of paper and more about how well the paper is handled. With most HP Indigos located inside temperature-controlled areas, he reckons using offset paper that’s been sitting on the factory floor in a broken mill pack is only asking for trouble.

    “We [HP Indigo] say we can print on anything but if you don’t use the right paper and treat it properly we can’t guarantee the result. It’s the same with offset. If you want a good result you have to make sure the paper is properly conditioned. If you’ve got paper on a pallet in Canberra or Melbourne in the middle of winter with zero humidity and you take it from there into a controlled environment with 45 degrees and high humidity, then you’re going to get problems,” he says.

    “But it’s not a big issue for us. Because they are printing on demand, digital printers only order the paper they require. There is not much waste compared to offset. They usually don’t have broken pallets sitting around the factory. It just makes sense to buy the right-sized paper that’s prepared by the mill.”

    The situation is set to become more complicated with the arrival of B2-size digital presses such as the HP Indigo 10000 and the Screen and Fujifilm inkjets. John Wanless, Bambra Press, one of the early adopters of the HP Indigo 10000, is an experienced, award-winning and knowledgeable printer. He recognises the value of using the right paper for the job but is not averse to testing offset grades when they suit.

    “It depends on the job. We’ll use B2 [digital] papers but there is not a big range at present. We’re working with the paper merchants on that. But we’ll use what ever is required and is available,” he comments.

    Digital is as digital does

    Despite relatively small volumes, the use of mill-wrapped SRA3 is rising sharply. According to Colin Longbottom, one of the first paper merchants to recognise the move towards digital printing – he branded his business as Longbottom Digital Papers in 1996 – printers are coming to recognise the benefits of using paper that is engineered specifically for digital engines. He charts the widespread adoption of colour digital printing from the arrival of the Fuji Xerox 2060 engine at the turn of the century. HP Indigo and Xeikon had trail blazed the sector during the 1990s but it was the arrival of the ‘digital lite’ machines from Fuji Xerox, Konica Minolta and Ricoh that kick-started wider adoption and use of SRA3.

    “It made sense for printers to use SRA3 for commercial colour. It’s a saving on the click charge and because the sheets are made for digital they give a much better result. We stock Mondi paper from Europe, which I believe is the number one for digital colour,” he says.

    Having pioneered the digital sector, Longbottom has strong views on what he describes as the big merchants jumping in promoting offset papers as suitable for digital printing. He maintains there are any number of issues that arise by putting cut-down offset sheets through digital engines.

    “People learn pretty quick. They get a lot of dust in the engine as well as cracking of the image when it’s folded. But the merchants are ankle biters, they’re getting pretty low with their prices. But no matter how low they go they won’t get the tonnage they’ve lost in offset because digital is about short runs,” he comments.

    Self-evident value

    The practice of printers cutting large offset sheets in four to get SRA3 to put through digital engines, though anecdotally widespread, is impossible to quantify. According to Tony Bertrand, marketing & business development manager, BJ Ball, the value of a mill-cut SRA3 digital sheet is self-evident. He reckons that with all the problems and risks involved in cutting larger sheets to the right size – the handling, time and labour involved as well as the logistics – there is nothing left of the original 10-15 per cent differential in prices.

    “Digital SRA3 is no more expensive than offset when you factor in the effort required to get the offset sheets onto the guillotine. Then they have to be cut square, which is sometimes difficult. Printers are better off buying a digital sheet in the first place. Digital papers are designed for digital printing and produce a much better quality result,” he says.

    He makes the point that some of the latest papers have ‘inbuilt technology’ that make them particularly suitable for digital printing.

    “Mohawk has developed its own InxSwell technology which is engineered to give a better result with HP Indigo. As the demands of digital technology increase, it makes even better sense to use digital sheets,” he says.

    All digital press manufacturers test and certify a range of papers for use in their engines although Fuji Xerox Supplies (see story p20) claims to be the sole manufacturer with a complete paper supply chain of certified papers. Others rely on merchants to supply their certified papers. And although they all strongly recommend their own certified papers, there seems to be little truth behind the notion that warranties are in danger if non-certified substrates are use. Fuji Xerox is the most adamant that only its papers should be part of the process and, according to Craig Flavell, executive GM, Fuji Xerox Office Supplies, there are now moves afoot to include certified paper as part of the click charge.

    At a time when printing as well as paper is fighting off accusations of being a commodity, the SRA3 sector and digital papers in general are swimming against the tide.

  • Fujitsu turns printed paper into interactive touchscreen

    Print on paper, still one of the most tactile methods of communication in today’s technology-centered global market, has been given a new lease on life by Fujitsu, with a system that redefines its tactility by turning the printed page into an interactive touchscreen.

    Through the use of a commercial projector and a webcam combined with new imaging technology, the Fujitsu system, which is still in the development stage, enables the printed page – in fact, any surface – to respond to the touch of a finger or a swipe in the same way smartphones and mobile devices with touchscreens do.

    Through the use of a low-resolution webcam and a standard commercial projector, Fujitsu is able to project a light-sourced interactive interface onto the paper’s surface, using the camera to track the page’s size and contents along with the reader’s moving fingers.

    A video demo of the technology published by Tokyo-based online video news site, Diginfo, (see below) shows a Fujitsu Laboratories rep manipulate a page of text and images with his fingers, highlighting text, and cropping and capturing images with the webcam.

    With augmented reality already playing a large part in a number of local print marketing campaigns, the new Fujitsu technology could enable print and paper-based material to behave more like its electronic rivals – but with the added benefit of its existing tactility.

    Fujitsu says it hopes to bring its touchscreen interface system to market some time next year.

    Check out the video demonstration below:

  • WWF will monitor APP’s new logging practice

    Decades of suspicion and enmity between the conservation organisation and the Indonesian paper maker mean it will take some time before anything is taken on trust.

    The World Wildlife Fund urges businesses in a statement to maintain a ban on APP paper until it can deliver truly independent confirmation that APP has stopped draining peat soils and pulping tropical forests with high conservation value. WWF hopes that APP’s new commitments will do more than just stop its own bulldozers, including protecting the natural forests in its concessions from all illegal activities.

    The organisation gave a veiled welcome to the announcement that  Sinar Mas Group’s Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) has stopped clearing Indonesia’s tropical forests and peatlands to allow an assessment of their conservation and carbon values. It accused the papermaker of failing to live up to previous commitments.

    APP runs two of the world’s largest pulp mills on Sumatra, where it produces the pulp for the toilet paper, tissue, copy paper and packaging that it sells worldwide. According to WWF the company and its wood suppliers are responsible for clearing more than 2 million hectares of rain forest on the island since beginning operations in 1984. Last year APP announced a move to clean up its act

    The company’s latest announcement came as part of APP’s new Forest Conservation policy during the quarterly update to its ‘Vision 2020′ Sustainability Roadmap. Teguh Ganda Wijaya, (pictured) Chairman of Sinar Mas Group-APP and head of the family’s pulp and paper business, was present when the announcement was made. It affirmed that no member of his APP group operating in Indonesia or China will accept any tropical timber felled in Indonesia after 31 January 2013 until company consultants have completed a full “high conservation value” and a “high carbon stock” assessment of their forest concessions.

    According to reports he cited recent natural disasters such as the flooding of Jakarta and Hurricane Sandy in the US as reasons why the company is changing its practices.

    “Climate change is a fact and we need to take action now in protecting the forests we already have and by planting more trees. We currently plant more than a million a day. At APP we have a saying that if you ‘use more paper, we plant more trees’, let’s make the world a botanical garden,” he is reported to have said.

    A statement on the company’s website has him saying, “This is a major commitment and investment from APP Group. We are doing this for the sustainability of our business and for the benefit of society. We hope our stakeholders will support our new Policy, help us along the way and urge other industry players to follow.

    “APP is a world leader in the pulp and paper business, and we will act as leaders are expected to do.”

    Greenpeace, another long-term critic of APP has warmly welcomed the news, describing the new policy as a major breakthrough. It immediately suspended its campaign against the company to allow it to deliver on its commitments.



  • Paper: not so yesterday – Andy McCourt

    In the era of the ‘paperless’ office, kindles and well-meaning environmentalists demonizing the blank page’s use in day-to-day business, Andy McCourt revisits some of the reasons why it will continue to remain vital to the world at large.

    Responding to stupid and ill-informed statements about the use of paper and printing has become quite passé since the old adage: ‘there is no cure for stupidity’ remains true.

    However, doing a spot of Christmas shopping in a Dick Smith store, I came across the pictured POS display promoting the Kindle: “Who thinks paper is so yesterday? – Dick Does.”

    Oh really? Apart from the sign being printed on paper board, in the next aisle were dozens of inkjet and laser printers and, in pride of place, a tower of reams of A4 paper on special (pictured). Every product in the store used paper in some way to package and promote. Woolworths, Dick’s parent company until recently (it’s now owned by Anchorage Private Equity), could not survive without paper for packaging, signage, labeling, receipts and presumably in the bathrooms too.

    The biological entity Dick Smith, was, and still is, a great supporter of Australian printing. His Australian Geographic magazine, catalogues and, today, his marvelous all-Aussie Dick Smith Foods use sensible and environmentally-sound print and paper. He never would have supported such a stupid headline by the current Dicks.

    If any of those Dicks are reading this, if you care to rise above your state of ignorance, modern managed forests and paper production are more sustainable than the internet and torrents of e-waste. UN research shows Europe has 30 per cent more forested area now than in 1950, North America also has more and the leader in increasing its forest area since 2000 is China at 1.6 percent annually.

    Managed forests lock-in carbon and water and for every tree felled, more than one is planted. One of the end products is paper (the other being timber) and this can be recycled over again – unlike most e-waste. Carbon emissions from internet/computer related use today are almost on par with the airline industry – approaching 400 million tones of CO2 a year.

    Australian printers such as Finsbury Green have greatly reduced water, solvent, VOC, carbon and paper waste over the past decade, to the point where Finsbury will be carbon-neutral by 2015.

    Kindles and other e-readers are fine if they encourage literacy. Like it or not, ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ started out as an e-book and has now reached 60 million copies sold in paperback. But for Dick to say paper is so ‘yesterday’ is clearly headed in the wrong direction.

  • PaperlinX shareholder insurrection picks up pace

    “If the EGM was held today, the result would be completely different,” said Andrew Price, PaperlinX shareholder activist as he prepared for the first Sydney meeting of disaffected investors on Monday. He was referring to the company meeting in March where he lost a bid to oust the current chairman by as little as two percent of the votes.

    The standing room only Sydney meeting was the latest in a series of presentations Price is hosting to inform shareholders about the state of the company and his own plans to revive its fortunes. Following a number of Melbourne meetings where he spoke to over 300 investors, both retail investors and other who have a stake in investment funds, he believes there is now a very strong appetite for change.

    “Many investors didn’t have enough information at the time of the last meeting. Over 30 percent didn’t vote. It is my intention to help investors become better informed to they can play an active role in the governance of PaperlinX,” said Price.

    The continuing activism comes in the shadow of the presentation of PaperlinX Strategic Review to be presented by Toby Marchant, CEO, June 30.

    Price has undertaken not to press for any further shareholder meetings, with the caveat that he will change his mind if the company tries to do, “anything stupid, such as sell a profitable business asset to try to cover up the mess they’ve made.

    “I sincerely hope they have a better plan for the future,” he said.