SAO PAULO, Aug. 4, 2020 (PPI Latin America) -Recent changes in consumer habits caused by the COVID-19 pandemic led pulp and paper producer Celulosa Argentina to expand its production of packaging papers. Focused on serving the food industry, the company launched a new white machine-finished (MF) kraft paper.
With the adaptation taking place at its Zárate mill, the company’s packaging production increased by 30%. Previously, the unit only produced printing and writing (P/W) papers.
“We expanded in packaging during a time of great necessity and we believe there is a bright future for this business,” commercial business manager Jorge Martínez Falino toldPPI Latin America.
The Zárate mill has capacity to produce approximately 58,000 tonnes/yr of uncoated woodfree (UWF) paper. According to Falino, the company substituted part of that production with the new kraft paper, but did not made a definitive machine conversion.
“We focused on packaging for food as demand surged rapidly and we needed to continue supplying our clients,” Falino said. Celulosa Argentina also produces white machine glazed (MG) paper in the Capitán Bermúdez mill.
The company relied on its diverse portfolio as a way to counter the negative impacts of the pandemic. While demand for printing and writing papers slumped with the shutdown of offices and schools, the company’s tissue papers business is running at full capacity.
“Being a diversified company, with four operating paper machines, gave us great flexibility to respond to the requirements of these exceptional times we are experiencing,” Falino said.
Going forward, the executive believes there are opportunities ahead in packaging. The company could benefit from increased demand for sustainable solutions, he noted: “We see a post-pandemic scenario in which the value of truly sustainable products will increase.”
According to Celulose Argentina’s last financial report of May 2019, the company produced about 190,000 tonnes of pulp and paper in that fiscal year, including tissue and printing/writing.