Publishers worldwide are drawing up emergency strategies amid the soaring price of paper along with its scarcity, threatening the very future of printed newspapers and magazines. The price of paper has nearly doubled putting the publishing industry in jeopardy.
With digital revolution changing the very face of the industry, the demand for paper gradually declined over the last 30 years globally, forcing many paper mills to shut up shop. The subsequent COVID-19 pandemic with its incessant lockdowns brought in a huge shortage of labour and severely impacted the supply chain routes. The already tight market was further challenged by a growing demand for cardboard packaging with the boom of e-commerce. With rising inflation and energy prices going through the ceiling, the situation has already taken a turn from bad to worse for paper supply this year.
From an industry perspective, this was a recipe for disaster as publishers were forced to cut down on pages and print runs even while having to increase the cover price of their publications.
Many major paper manufacturers have already announced increases across their portfolios from next month. According to industry sources this price increase is essential in order to offset the exceptional rise in raw material costs driven by soaring energy tariffs.
Mitsubishi HiTec Paper Europe GmbH, the German subsidiary of Japan-based specialty paper manufacturer Mitsubushi Paper Mills Ltd., is all set to increase its paper prices by up to 15% for worldwide deliveries, beginning September 1. This is in addition to the 10% global price hike across all its specialty papers that came into force on March 1 and a 12% rise for its entire range of coated specialty papers in July 1. Besides six domestic production facilities, Mitsubishi Paper has overseas production units in China, Germany, Mexico, and the USA.
Following in the Japanese company’s footsteps is Belgium-based Sappi Europe, slated to increase the price of its wood-free coated and uncoated papers and paperboards by 8-10% from September 12. This follows an increase of 10-25% effected in February. The company is Europe’s leading producer of coated graphic paper as well as packaging and specialty papers with ten production mills. Sappi Europe SA is a subsidiary of South Africa-based Sappi, a global diversified woodfibre company. Besides having five domestic production facilities, the group also has four overseas facilities in North America besides the ten in Europe.