Industry moves be more resourceful & energy efficient
Waste Management Expo 2020 MAR 12&13 BIEC, Bengaluru, India

Industry moves to be more resourceful & energy efficient

3:53 PM, 10th December 2019
Madhukar Mishra, Managing Director, Star Paper Mills Ltd
Madhukar Mishra, Managing Director, Star Paper Mills Ltd.

Madhukar Mishra, Managing Director, Star Paper Mills Ltd notes the growth of bio-refineries and development of nano-particles that will boost the pulp & paper industry. He suggests increased demand for bio-degradable products and packaging solutions driven by growth of the e-commerce market.

By Shivani Mody

Worldwide market dynamics impacting pulp & paper industry.

A major and persistent trend is global concern about use of non-biodegradable plastics. This is providing a fillip to search for viable substitutes and paper being biodegradable will naturally be a beneficiary. So while demand for writing and printing papers may have begun declining (not in India though) that for packaging grades will get a boost.

Similarly, restrictions imposed by China on imports of certain kinds of waste paper in order to protect its own environment has led to substitution of sources of fiber and supply of paper. It may not have impacted overall demand for paper but has certainly led to significant shifts in patterns of trade. An area of concern is the US-China trade dispute. If not resolved quickly and if it leads to less open global trade, it may impact demand for many items including paper.

Further, uncertainties in the global economic recovery will continue to curb market demand in the industry.

Global trends in the pulp & paper industry.

Concept of “Bio-Refinery” and development of nano-particles including nano-cellulose, will have a major impact on growth of the industry. Both will lead to new end-uses for by-products of the industry and generate newer revenue streams.

In view of the global competition and decreasing forest products prices, manufacturers will need to improve revenues by producing bioenergy and biomaterials in addition to wood, pulp & paper products. Here, biorefineries will ensure energy efficiency and highly integrated products. The technologies will allow the industry to manufacture highvalue chemicals, fuels and electric power that can translate into further savings.

Overall this also helps the industry improve its environment sustainability efforts.

Moreover, if you look at paper industry global market forecasts, suggestions are that the worldwide paper industry will be more resourceful and energy efficient, producing a more diversified product range. Many players will look into serving niche markets and increase their expertise and variety in product offerings. With stricter global regulations & implementation, and supply chain integrations, the focus on environmental sustainability will be a key area for the industry.

Segments seeing increased demand in pulp & paper industry.

Although on a low base, but tissue paper is the fastest growing segment in the Indian pulp & paper industry. As mentioned earlier, packaging in all forms is attracting increased demand. Bio-degradability and furious growth in e-commerce are some of the underlying factors. We expect demand for better quality of packaging papers from customers as we go forward.

Expectations and issues from the raw material providers.

There are generic issues like timely deliveries, quicker lead times and consistent quality which every user industry expects from its suppliers. There is also an expectation that instead of merely supplying a product, chemical suppliers should assure responsibility for performance of the chemicals. While this has started to happen in items like sizing chemicals, the same is needed for other products too. At times, it takes efforts to get consignment test reports on Material Data Safety Sheets.

Ways in which digitisation is making a difference to the industry.

Digital economy is not particularly impacting industrial and packaging segments which are growing. In advanced economies, cultural paper demand is facing a decline on account of digitisation. However, level of consumption of cultural paper in India is very low compared to the advanced economies and we expect steady and substantial growth till we reach levels of consumption in developed economies.

Industrial paper is a dynamic market. New end-uses and products get introduced while some of the older ones wither away. This trend will continue.

Pulp & paper products market potential for developed vs emerging regions.

While pulp & paper industry is a mature Industry with low growth rates, in advanced economies, the primary trend would be newer high value-added products. In contrast, in emerging markets like India, we will witness a fast growth as well as introduction of newer products. One of the strong drivers for the industry growth is the rising middle class in the emerging markets. Combined with the burgeoning e-commerce market this will continue to fuel the growth of the pulp & paper industry.

Company’s business and scope of growth in the country.

Star Paper is a niche player and has a very wide product range catering to different needs in industrial, packaging and cultural segments. Like any other niche player, our focus will be to come-up with products tailor-made for specific segments adding value for the consumers.

Focus on sustainability for products and processes.

Star has always been conscious of the environmental aspects of business. It was the first paper company in the Northern belt to start social forestry. Similarly, it has implemented many environmental measures before the same became mandatory.

On a global level, the industry efforts are on to maximise the use of recycled fibre content. Recycling is key to rapidly reducing the paper industry’s production footprint.

Data suggests that many newsprint and packaging grades have more than 50 percent recycled content, while printing and writing paper has a global average of only 8 percent. The scope of using recycled fibre content is huge particularly in emerging markets like India.

Challenges faced by pulp & paper manufacturers.

In most of the major paper producing countries, paper manufacturers are allowed to grow captive plantations and harvest the same thereby reducing logistics cost, enjoying better and consistent raw material quality and a lower raw material cost. In India, due to high land costs and forest regulations, this has not become feasible.

Manufacturers in some of the countries with low raw material cost have duty-free access to Indian paper market thus denying the local industry a level playing field. As a positive impact, government policies can lead to economic development of the country which in turn fuels demand for various segments of the pulp & paper industry. Eg, focussed steps like Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan led to higher demand for writing and printing grades.

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