Companies tally up the damage after earthquake rocks Turkey’s paper sector

The earthquake has caused severe impediments to paper production, with total damages yet to be confirmed

The fallout from the tragic earthquake that struck Turkey on February 6 is still being determined, and so is the damage to the country’s paper sector. The human toll of the quake, which registered 7.8 on the Richter scale, has been immense, with the number of victims topping 40,000. The damage to the paper industry in the Kahramanmaraş region surrounding the quake’s epicenter in the south of the country remains to be fully quantified, but it appears to have been significant, and some mills have had to stop production.

One of those was Essel Kagit’s Osmaniye tissue mill. The firm said shortly after the quake that while the tissue PM was not damaged nor was there any serious damage to the mill itself, the decision was made to halt production out of consideration for the mill’s workers and the scale of the human suffering. According to market sources, the Osmaniye mill is now up and running again after being down for approximately one week. The mill can produce some 31,000 tonnes/yr of tissue.

Kahramanmaraş Kağıt Sanayi ve Ticaret (KMK Paper) also confirmed that its Kahramanmaraş mill sustained some damage. “We are not expecting to commence production in the short run,” a company representative said. He noted that production at the firm’s Kutahya plant, which produces corrugated board and paper bags, was not affected and production there continued as usual.

According to Fastmarkets RISI’s Asset Database, KMK Paper’s Kahramanmaraş mill can produce some 110,000 tonnes/yr of recycled containerboard (RCCM), kraft paper and gypsum board on PM 1, as well as some 90,000 tonnes/yr of RCCM and uncoated recycled board on the plant’s other machine, PM 2.

More broadly, the Turkish Cellulose and Paper Industry Foundation (SKSV) told PPI Europe that the earthquake had resulted in “severe damage” in terms of impediments to production for the plants located in the quake’s vicinity. “The size of the impact in [terms of] numbers and production has not been calculated yet,” the SKSV said. It added that it knew of three plants in the region producing packaging paper and board that had had to “completely stop production.”

PPI Europe will continue to monitor the fallout from the disaster and report the latest information as it becomes available.

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