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What’s happening to the paper supply chain in 2022?

By Paperstone on March 23, 2022 in Uncategorized

We’ve all got used to reading about shortages in the headlines, more so than ever during the pandemic. From toilet roll to computer chips, petrol and now paper…

The reasons for paper shortages and price increases are multiple and, in this blog post, we’ll be exploring what’s going on with the paper supply chain.

1. Paper vs Plastic

Move towards cardboard packaging

With people wanting to move away from disposable plastic packaging there has been a massive increase in demand for paper-based products. This increased demand has meant that paper mills have scaled up production – which takes time.

2. Strike action at paper mill

UPM Biofore is one of the world’s largest papermakers. Their Finnish mills have been on strike due to wages and working conditions, since 1st January 2022 and this is set to continue into April 2022.

No raw materials have been produced this year which is having huge ramifications across Europe on paper supply.

3. Shipping challenges

Nearly 2 billion tonnes of goods are shipped each year by sea. Disruptions caused by lockdowns and border closures thanks to the pandemic have meant a break in the shipping cycle.

This has resulted in containers left in the wrong locations, congested ports and longer loading and unloading times. In turn, reduced shipping capacity has resulted in an increase in the cost of shipping. The cost of shipping a container across the world has risen from around £2,000 to over £10,000. This is impacting paper prices.

4. Soaring energy prices

As energy prices rapidly rise across Europe paper manufacturers are beginning to pass these on in hefty price increases to wholesalers and in turn consumers. Energy prices are not capped for companies as they are for consumers and so some companies have seen their energy bills double!

5. Conflict between Russia and Ukraine

Unsurprisingly the conflict is affecting supply from both Russia and Ukraine. Whilst most of the paper-pulp doesn’t come directly from Russia, 70% of the chemicals used in copier paper manufacture do and the sanctions have severely restricted their supply.

We’re working tirelessly to keep paper in stock

All of these challenges have led to less stock being available and the stock that is, is at a higher price.

Historically, since the 1980’s, a box of copier paper cost around £10. Copier paper is now selling for around £20 per box. We’re hoping that this will drop back towards £15 per box as supply and demand stabilise.

We’re working tirelessly behind the scenes to keep as many paper brands in stock as possible. Please see our website for live availability.

If paper is an important part of your business, we suggest ordering sooner rather than later, we want to make sure there is no disruption to your business. As always, the team is happy to help answer any questions you may have.


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