Most provincial governments had extended the Lunar New Year (LNY) holiday to February 9 to limit the flow of people. In the central province of Hubei, non-essential enterprises have been ordered not to reopen before February 14. All pulp and paper mills in the province had stopped operation.
According to preliminary data from the National Bureau of Statistics of China, Hubei saw total paper and board production of 4.16 million tonnes in 2019, ranking its industry 7th out of 31 provinces in the country. Shandong Chenming Paper Holdings have two mills in Hubei. The one in Huanggang city houses a 500,000 tonne/yr chemical pulp line which can swing between paper grades and dissolving grades. The other, in Wuhan, has 220,000 tonnes/yr of tissue, specialty paper and graphic paper capacity. Both facilities have been stopped for nearly two weeks.
The city of Xiaogan is a major hub for tissue production in China. Top producers, including APP China, Vinda International and C&S Paper, have a total of approximately 680,000 tonnes/yr tissue capacity in the city. All of them are understood to be out of operation.
Hubei is also home to several large recycled containerboard plants. Long Chen Paper’s 1.15 million tonne/yr Songzi mill and Shanying International’s 550,000 tonne/yr Jingzhou mill shut down January 28 and January 29. Golden Phoenix Paper, Hubei Shengda Paper and Hubei Xiangxing Paper Technology, which boast a total recycled containerboard capacity of 2.26 million tonnes/yr, have been down as well.
Contacts from the affected producers told Fastmarkets RISI that they highly doubt whether the facilities will be able to resume operations as currently scheduled, as the number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus is still surging in the province and mandated lockdowns are expected to continue.