Posted on 04/11/2009 in category Paper



Brussels,4th November 2009

BIRAutumn Round-Table Sessions
Amsterdam,26-27 October 2009


Paperrecycling sector continues to be challenged

The “green shoots of recovery” havebecome more apparent in recent months, not least because financialstimuli have kick-started the global economy. However, the upturn isset to be slow and a number of challenges continue to confront thepaper recycling sector, it was noted in Amsterdam by BIR PaperDivision President Ranjit Baxi of J & H Sales International inthe UK.

Rising unemployment is adverselyaffecting expenditure and therefore consumption, while low recoveredpaper collection volumes represent “a problem we are all currentlyfacing”, he said. Indeed, a succession of market reports revealedthe scale of the drop in collection tonnages: for example, theaverage decline for both northern Europe and the USA is estimated at10-15%.

On a more positive note, it wasconfirmed that China has continued to increase its imports ofrecovered fibre following a pronounced dip in orders around the startof this year. According to Mr Baxi, the country bought in some 18.6mtonnes in the first eight months of 2009, with the USA providing7.654m tonnes and Europe around 6.5m tonnes. If Chinese importscontinue at this rate for the remainder of the year, they will totalaround 27.9m tonnes for 2009 as a whole - an increase of some 15%over the 24.15m tonnes of 2008, delegates were informed.

Data provided by guest speaker BillMoore of the well-known USA-based consultancy Moore & Associatesshowed that China’s recovered paper imports slumped in January thisyear but quickly recovered to an all-time monthly peak in April. Bythe year 2014, his figures suggested, China could be a net importerof around 35m tonnes of recovered paper.

Fellow guest speaker Trilochen Singh ofRKS International Sales GmbH & Co. KG in Germany predicted thatimport demand from China would rise to 37m tonnes by the year 2012while requirements in India would jump to 20m tonnes by the year 2020in response to paper manufacturers upscaling their technologies.

Rising sea freight rates was anotherchallenge to the recovered paper sector identified by Mr Baxi. Andguest speaker Peter Hall, Managing Director for the UK & Irelandof container transportation specialist APL, warned that acontinuation of “unsustainably low” freight rates would leadpotentially to shipping line failures, to a degradation of servicelevels and, in the longer term, to a lack of re-investment within thecontainer shipping industry.

In her report on European RecoveredPaper Association activities, Merja Helander of Finland-basedPaperinkeräys Oy confirmed that the European paper recycling ratehas reached 66.6%. The key question now, she said, is how high therecycling rate can feasibly go. “It can’t go up forever,” sheadded.

The meeting in Amsterdam also saw thefamily-owned SAICA Group become the latest recipient of the BIR PaperDivision’s Papyrus Prize. The award recognises the group’sincreasing use of recovered fibre as well as its “healthypartnership” with companies in the supply chain. On receiving theprize from BIR World President Dominique Maguin of France, SAICA’sMaterials Director Guillermo Vallés Albar confirmed that itsmillshave used solely recovered paper for more than a decade.