Nearly 3.6 million tons of paper and paperboard in the first quarter

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In January-March 2006 paper and paperboard production in Finland totalled nearly 3.6 million tons. Quarterly production has exceeded this amount only three times in the past.

During the second quarter, at Midsummer nearly 42% of paper and paperboard capacity will be in operation. All pulp mills are expected to continue operating at full capacity. This will be the first time mills can keep running at Midsummer in Finland. Continued operation is possible due to the new paper industry labour market agreement of July 2005.

"The experience from last Christmas and next Midsummer will provide good possibilities to evaluate the advantages of continuous operation together with workers’ organizations," says President Anne Brunila of the Finnish Forest Industries Federation. "Now Finnish mills can operate according to market needs, as in other paper-producing countries."

Around 6,600 workers will be on the job in the pulp and paper industries at Midsummer. This is about 500 more than the figure last Christmas. In the paper industry workers who are on shifts at Midsummer will receive 350-1500 euros more than if they did not work during the holiday, depending on the number of shifts.

Pulp and paper mills will now be able to keep running at Midsummer and at Christmas, since the new collective agreement signed last summer does not include compulsory shutdowns.

Wood shortage creates uncertainty for sawmills

Sawn wood production in January-March was down 2% compared with the year before. The drop in production was partly due to difficulties obtaining roundwood for sawmills. During the first ten weeks of 2006 forest owners sold one-third less wood to industry than the year before. A slight upturn is visible on the roundwood market, but sawmills face a shortage unless the supply of roundwood and autumn deliveries can be ensured.

Plywood production continued to rise and has now reached a record level in Finland. Growth in production is due to the improved market situation as well as new capacity.

Additional information:

Arto Tähtinen, Senior Vice President, Labour Market Policy, Finnish Forest Industries Federation, tel. +358 9 132 4442

Esa-Jukka Käär, Chief Economist, Finnish Forest Industries Federation, tel. +358 9 132 6616

Markku Paavilainen, Senior Vice President, Wood Products Industry, Finnish Forest Industries Federation,
tel. +358 9 132 6663,

Forest Industry Production in Finland in January – March 2006.pdf