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Paper machine conversion trend here to stay

Germany – Conversion of newsprint machines to packaging production has become an established trend on both sides of the Atlantic and is likely to continue into the future, it emerged from the BIR paper division meeting in Berlin.

Guest speaker Bill Moore, president of US-based paper recycling consulting specialist Moore & Associates, estimated that newsprint machine conversions to containerboard production had amounted to some 2 million short tons in the last two years alone and perhaps 5 million short tons across the last decade. 

‘We expect to see more conversions,’ he added, having earlier noted that newsprint production in the USA and Canada tumbled from 13.78 million tonnes in 2002 to 5.86 million tonnes in 2015.

At the same meeting, BIR paper division vice president Francisco Donoso of Alba Servicios Verdes in Spain confirmed that International Paper’s agreement to buy Holmen Paper Madrid and to convert the newsprint machine for packaging production by the second half of next year was expected to create an additional annual demand for nearly 400 000 tonnes of OCC grades in Spain over the medium term whereas domestic demand for the deinking grades was likely to be cut by more than half.

The European Recovered Paper Association’s president Merja Helander of Finland warned: ‘The paper and board industry is changing the product line of machines from graphic to board production with such a speed that, one day, we will see overcapacity in these products.’

A full report of the BIR conference in Berlin will be included in our upcoming June/July issue.

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