ABTCP-PI 2009 takes off!
The 42nd International Congress & Exhibition on Cellulose Pulp & Paper (ABTCP-PI 2009), organized by the Brazilian Technical Association for Cellulose Pulp & Paper was launched in Sao Paulo on Monday. Key persons within the industry gather at this meeting point to share their latest information and research results. In addition, a wonderful set up of exhibitors have filled up the Exhibition Fair Area, displaying their products and services to an audience that will reach several thousands.
Fig. 1: Debate at the ABTCP-PI 2009 Technical Sessions
Eucalyptologics has the privilege to observe and report from the Technical Sessions, which is indeed a great place to see how the big fishes in the P&P pond report their findings and predictions for future trends.
Crisis Impacts on the Global Pulp & Paper Industry
Carlos Farinha, senior vice-president Pöyry, outlined the current status and predicted the evolution of and future tendencies for the global Pulp & Paper market after the impact of the Global Crisis. Key points, predictions for increasing overall demand up to at least 2025 to possibly go beyond the 525 Million ton paper / year, and different impacts and tendency for each regional market. The Crisis impacted greatly the newsprint paper segments, but tissue and printing paper remained afloat. China became the main market for Brazilian Kraft Eucalyptus pulp during 2009, while exports to Europe fell sharply. Carlos also outlined that while the European Union, the USA and Japan will drive just a small piece of the future demand growth rate cake, current demand growth rates point to China, India & Russia as the main future markets we should look at for expansion.
Another important point for those growing eucalypts, or for those against growing eucalypts, Bleached Hardwood Kraft Pulp (so, one of the main products from planted Eucalyptus forests) is predicted to jump from 60 to 85% over the total sources for printing paper manufacture by 2025, and from 60 to 75% for tissue. Which means that in some years, less than 0.5% of the world's available land will be able to supply most of the raw renewable, recyclable and sustainable resource as to sustain the production of the huge majority of printing and tissue paper consumption around the world. And, mostly, without using dangerous chlorine chemicals for bleaching. No doubt, good news for those misguided to think that using paper equals to chopping trees and destroying native forests, or those misguided to believe some of the most dangerous toxins are still generated by the P&P routine.
Crisis Impacts on the European & Brazilian Pulp & Paper Industry
Kurt Brandauer, executive vice-president VOITHPaper GmbH & Co. KG, described the impacts of the crisis in Europe, which meant a sharp decline of demand reaching even a 25% decrease for some paper segments. and outlined that while countries as China are implementing major "close down" policies for their smaller factories, Europe is closing down big ones too. In the first case, it is a modernization effort to get rid of "many, small, pollutant, suboptimal" industrial complexes processing several sources of cellulose and replace them by "fewer, less pollutant, larger, more efficient, more profitable" factories processing fiber from sustainable fast growing plantations. For Europe it is however a response for non satisfactory financial productivity in the global scenario, plus a strong social pressure for increasing recycled paper use. Fiber is cheaper to produce and process elsewhere. And can be recycled later if needed.
Elizabeth de Carvalhaes, President of BRACELPA, outlined the impacts of the crisis for Brazil. Brazilian pulp exports kept growing steadily, driven by Chinese imports to a new record. But this happened as pulp prices fell sharply from a peak of nearly 800 US$ per ton by November 2008 to a low of 485 US$ per ton by April 2009. Cheap, very good, high quality certified Brazilian ECF Eucalyptus pulp for high quality paper... plus at least 300 million Chinese citizens increasing their paper consumption rates as their living standards improve... who can resist? After a wise SWAT analysis, key point: Brazilian industry captures 3 ton of CO2 for each ton emitted. That, considering they are leading the world for Eucalyptus plantation area and planting rate, means a growing sizeable bargaining power for carbon market negotiations.
Crisis Impacts on the Asian & Australasian Pulp & Paper Industry
Kunitawa Toyofuku san, executive director Japan TAPPI, outlined the great efforts taken by Japan to become one of the top users of recycled paper in the world, reaching 75% of total internal demand, and the great efforts to reduce the basic weight for newsprint paper, half by surface unit than it was 30 years ago. The sharp increase of Chinese imports of Japanese waste paper (special commodity for Sino-Japanese trade) during 2009 was also a key point: even more fiber to feed the giant panda. Japan warned about the impact of future surging demand that may rise from China as per capita paper consumption rates increase with time, and how while Japanese paper production remained nearly estabilized in the last decade, China has trebled them in few years, and it is predicted to keep increasing. An outline of Japanese investments in fast growing plantations around the world (cheers to Australia & New Zealand, among other Eucalyptus planters) was also given.
Finally, Paulo Sérgio Peres, President of ABPO, outlined the importance of corrugated paper for packaging in the world markets (90 Million ton per year), and how, again, current growth is lead by Asia, where China has already surpassed the USA as world leading producer. In addition, he perfectly explained why packaging paper is a very good indicator to follow the evolution of crisis: while food packaging use remains almost constant (we all have to eat, crisis or not) all other packaging is directly linked to final consumer habits. And that means the very scary sharp decline to unheard of levels by December 2008, meaning a nearly paralyzed import-export process for three months while the worst of the financial bubble exploded and panic spread all over the world... is not just over. Packaging paper consumption rates have already recovered and are approaching new historical maximums. That means, your and my consumer habits are recovered, and the flux of money is surely helping the world economy recover. If I was you, I would invest some in fast growing tree planting. The trees kept growing while the crisis was at its peak (or low, depends on perspective!).
And what else?
Eucalyptologics was also a honest witness of the efforts of Brazilian P&P industry to reduce its environmental impact footprint: new technologies were presented to improve the treatment of Kraft pulp mill effluents and to reduce the amount of bio-solids produced as residues of industrial activity (pulp and paper, but also other industrial cycles). In addition, monitoring plans and infrastructures to follow water and air pollution trends were also kindly presented. Not very good news for those making noise about the "guilty pollutant chemical industries" in the pulp and paper segments. The industry is not just aiming at complying with law and regulations: it is aiming at "zero residue policies" where possible.
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