In 2019, paper mills working with a maximum three weeks of recovered paper stocks were achieving full capacity with imports of around 150,000 to 200,000 tonnes per month. Recovered paper imports still amounted to around 300,000 tonnes up until March this year but, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, these have almost stopped.
In January and February, mills were operating at around their normal levels; in March, however, tissue mills in particular started working at maximum capacity. While some of the sectors using brown paper and duplex board - such as those supplying detergents and medicines - have doubled their orders, others like the car and white goods industries have cancelled them. As a result, these mills have not had to keep any stocks until now.
The recovered paper collection rate in Turkey has decreased to 35% and imports have almost stopped. While it is different for those mills working with pulp, those using recovered paper will have to halt production in April. There has been a 20% increase in Turkish prices for recovered paper because the lira has lost value and there has been a scarcity of material on the domestic market.
In the final week of March and at the beginning of April, a few mills have temporarily stopped operating in order to protect the health of their workers. Since no-one has a clear idea about what is to come, it is difficult to comment about market prospects.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Mopak in Dalaman had placed an order with Andritz for the renewal of its PM3. The capacity of the mill is 500,000 tonnes per year. The project had been scheduled to be completed in the first half of 2021 but the current situation is not known.