UK could face paper shortages as Finland clears port backlog
Printing News
UK could face paper shortages as Finland clears port backlog

Strikes by Finnish dock workers have raised the possibility of UK paper shortages after some mills said it would take weeks to return production to normal.

The 16-day action prevented paper manufacturers from exporting products and the sector now faces a backlog of orders, despite the strike ending on 19 March. 

Stora Enso said that, while it is now starting up its paper machines, full production at the mills would "only start in a few weeks". Meanwhile, UPM and Sappi said normalised production would begin within the week following the end of the strike.

Some UK printers claim to have already been hit with paper delays, including First Class Post. Sales manager Andy Harrison said: "Some of our suppliers are struggling to obtain paper to convert into envelopes for us to overprint. However, what we are experiencing is perhaps not as much as some of the flat-sheet printers."

He added that the company was having to offer alternative stocks.

Formara managing director Freddie Kienzler said: "We have had some grades running out, but our merchant has made them up by supplying a more expensive product at the same price. Our SRA sheets have been unaffected."

Parker and Collinson managing director Ian Collinson said he had not had any delays yet, but claimed the company could still be affected.

"We only buy from merchants, so might still be affected as there will be a lengthy supply lag," he said.

Another printer said he had been told some merchants had run out of some brands completely.

A spokesman for merchant Elliott Baxter said: "The feedback from customers suggests there are problems on stock and availability on Finnish-produced products. However, it is difficult to be accurate as we do not stock or sell any paper from Finland from either UPM or Stora Enso."

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