Packaging paperboard supplies may be in short supply throughout the region with the Japanese earthquake and tsunami causing serious damage to pulp and paper mills and infrastructure. Nippon Paper (NPI) who supplies around 100,000 tonnes a year to Australian alone was one of the hardest hit.Nippon has ceased production at four of its seven mills due to a collapsed ceiling, an influx of sand and sediment as well as damage to stock and equipment.
A statement from the company outlines that almost all the stock at its Ishinomaki mill seems to be damaged as well as half the stock at its Iwanuma facility.
Nippon says, “There is a concern that some problems regarding material procurement and product transportation will happen in some mills. From now on we will do our best to confirm all our employee’s safety and damage of equipment."
Wayne Stanistreet, general manager of sales and marketing at Australian Paper – which is owned by Nippon – said it was still early days to realise the affect on the local market, however with NPI exporting around 100,000 tonnes per year to the Australia market, the impact is likely to be significant.
He says, “NPI has published a list of all mills that have been affected, including those where production has stopped for the time being.
“With the damage to infrastructure the logistics will also be difficult so I think we can say we are not going to see volumes recover in the very near future, but it’s still early days and it would not be wise to make any predictions in relation to timelines at this stage.
“We have been in constant contact with all of our customers, who I must say have been extremely supportive.”