The Finnish Forest Industries Federation (FFIF) recently reported that production of pulp and packaging paperboard in Finland grew in the first half of the year. The volume of printing and writing paper production remained almost unchanged from the previous year’s level, but softwood sawn timber production contracted.
Upcoming industrial policy decisions will have a significant impact on the competitiveness of Finland’s forest-based sector, FFIF noted.
“A comprehensive societal agreement is needed alongside very moderate pay rises in the next few years if we want Finnish competitiveness to recover,” said Timo Jaatinen, Director General of the FFIF. “This would enable us to narrow the gap that has developed between Finland and our key competitor countries.
“Promoting favourable operating prerequisites for the forest-based sector — the most important component of the bioeconomy — makes it possible to realise the expectations that have been placed on the bioeconomy as a driving force for overall economic activity,” Jaatinen explained.
Long-term and consistent industrial policies are a prerequisite for the realisation of the forest-based sector’s numerous investment projects.
“Concrete action is needed to spur the bioeconomy. Measures with rapid impact must be taken in order to get timber flowing and safeguard the industry’s raw material supplies,” Jaatinen said. “The emissions trading compensation included in the Programme for Government should also be introduced quickly.
“In addition, infrastructure investments must target basic road maintenance, the lower-level road network and boost the efficiency of track transports that strengthen the bioeconomy,” Jaatinen added.
Production of packaging paperboard and pulp growing strongly
The forest-based sector plays a significant role in the generation of export revenues for Finland. Forest industry products accounted for 21.7% of national exports in January-May.
Some 5.3 million tonnes of paper and paperboard was produced in Finland in January-June, just under one percent more than in the corresponding period of 2014.
About 3 million tonnes of printing and writing paper was produced in Finland during the first half of the year. Output was almost unchanged from the corresponding period of 2014.
Production of paperboard for packaging applications continued to grow steadily. Some 1.6 million tonnes of paperboard was produced in January-June, over 5% more than one year earlier.
Pulp production increased in the first half of the year. Finnish pulp production totalled 3.6 million tonnes in January-June, almost 3% more than in the corresponding period of 2014.
Softwood sawn timber production in January-June totalled 5.5 million cubic metres. First-half production was down 4% compared to the previous year.