With the price of its glossy printing paper falling and an ongoing battle against American countervailing duties, the Port Hawkesbury mill continues to try to diversify. “The price of paper is going in the wrong direction (but) no one wants to shut the mill down,” Mark Dube, development manager for Port Hawkesbury Paper, said Friday. “(Meanwhile) we’ve got a legal team in the States that costs us more than $2 million a year.” “We need to diversify and we need to do it quickly.” New products are not going to replace the paper the mill produces, but they will help keep the mill sustainable, Dube said. The mill has hired experts to test new products, including wood-based alternatives to petrochemicals, and another that is hot off the cylinders: paper bags and heat-resistant sandwich wrappers, the kind that McDonald’s and Subway burn through by the hundreds of thousands daily. “It wouldn’t be all of our production, but it would be a piece of it,” Dube said. “The fast food industry is growing. We want to be there, ready to do the packaging.” So far, the mill hasn’t found the right process. In experimental batches, the wood fibre contained too much sugar, which caused the paper to yellow when heated. click Read More below for additional detail
According to the August 2018 Printing-Writing Monthly report from the American Forest & Paper Association, total printing-writing paper shipments decreased 11 percent in August compared to August 2017. Total printing-writing paper inventory levels decreased three percent from July. Imports of printing-writing papers in July increased six percent compared to July 2017 imports, while exports declined 24 percent compared to July 2017.
•Shipments of coated mechanical (CM) paper decreased 11 percent year-over-year in August. Inventory levels decreased six percent. Exports of CM papers increased five percent in July compared to July 2017.
•Shipments of uncoated mechanical (UM) papers decreased 21 percent year-over-year in August. Imports of UM decreased two percent year-over-year in July. Exports of UM decreased 70 percent year-over-year in July.
•Shipments of uncoated free sheet (UFS) paper and coated free sheet (CFS) papers both decreased year-over-year in August. July imports of UFS papers increased 37 percent compared to July 2017, while imports of CFS papers increased two percent compared to last July.