Even before the strikes and war in Ukraine began, raw material supplies were at an all time low from the chaos caused by the global pandemic.
Given the current raw materials shortages, compiled with the sanctions against Russia, does UPM have enough materials to begin operations at full efficiency?
As it turns out, Finland obtains a portion of its raw materials from Russia, which it’s currently having to do without.
The Finnish forest industry imported 9.3 million cubic meters of wood from Russia in 2021. That’s about 10% of its raw material needs.
The sanctions not only led to a drop in trade between Finland and Russia but ultimately removed these key materials at a time when supplies are already dangerously low.
However, UPM says this isn’t the case.
The company claims that order fulfillment will begin immediately, indicating they have the supplies on hand to accommodate what is likely to be a massive order volume from the months of no production.
Sources say several paper mills will possibly begin production as soon as week 17 and as late as the end of week 18. These include:
- Jämsänkoski paper mill (630,000 tons per year)
- Rauma paper mill (665,000 tons per year)
- Kymi paper mill (700,000 tons per year)
However, statements from those in the paper and labeling industries claim stock and inventory are nonexistent and have been throughout the entire strike period.
Will Parker, a label industry expert and FINAT committee member, spoke to Printweek about his disappointments with the entire situation and how it has ultimately affected customers.
“[N]o planning was given to building stock and inventory to cover the convenience to the customer,” he said. “Had [UPM] built stock, which they could have done last year, the market wouldn’t have felt the pain.”
That pain has left an abundance of damage in its wake, including to one “long-established label printer” in the UK. Parkers, a 70-year old business that produced a wide range of self-adhesive labels, flexible packaging, and more, went into administration before the strike ended.
Lack of supplies caused by the strike is being cited as one of the main reasons.
Despite the conflicting information, we’re left wondering: if UPM does get their operations moving quickly, where will the supplies be triaged to first?