BRUSSELS, 16 September 2015 (RISI) - A mounting migrant crisis involving a growing influx of refugees to Europe and subsequent border control issues has caused pulp and paper (P&P) industry players in the southeastern part of the continent to make adjustments to their logistical operations, especially in Austria, Hungary and the Balkans.
Sources among industry players operating in southeastern Europe told RISI that although their day-to-day business remains largely unaffected, they have had to take measures to address problems transporting goods in that part of Europe. Sources in Germany, especially those in the south of the country, reported that although they have not seen any major effect on their operations so far, they have experienced a few cases when their deliveries were disturbed.
A large market player with operations in Austria, Hungary and the Balkans said that his firm had to redirect the flow of supplies among its operations in those countries to ensure smooth deliveries.
"[The current migrant issue] is a challenge for us. We had to shift [responsibilities] among our plants. It's not a big problem and we are able to continue serving our customers as usual, but we have to constantly monitor the situation," the player said.
A big Austrian producer said: "We've seen disturbances on the Austrian-Hungarian border, and we've faced a situation in which some of our traditional roads have been temporarily blocked, so we had to divert our trucks or add an extra three hours to our usual delivery times. Other than that, though, we have not been hugely affected." He added that his company continues to monitor developments.
Another large producer with operations in Austria and Hungary also said that there are fears that the situation for deliveries to western and northern Europe might worsen if some European countries introduce full border controls.
"We've already seen deliveries, especially to Hungary, require more time now. If the border control situation becomes more aggravated, it will definitely affect paper availability in Europe," the source said.