UPM inaugurated its newly revamped Kymi pulp mill in Kuusankoski following a EUR 160 million investment in production expansion. Finland’s Prime Minister Juha Sipilä officiated the proceedings by signing the charter together with UPM President and CEO Jussi Pesonen.
UPM invested in the Kymi pulp mill to strengthen its position in the growing end-use segments of the global pulp market. The investment marks a production capacity increase of 170,000 tonnes to 700,000 tonnes of bleached northern softwood and birch pulp annually. Prime Minister Sipilä stated in his speech that the project is the fruit of a vast store of knowledge that has been accumulated at Kymi mill during the past decades. The investment supports the Finnish Government’s target of establishing Finland as a pioneer in the bioeconomy, circular economy and clean-tech solutions by 2025.
“The year 2015 demonstrated that the forest industry continues to play an important role in Finland. Our exports were boosted especially by pulp and paper. Kymi’s example is a clear signal of the ongoing strong growth of the forest industry and bioeconomy,” stated Sipilä.
In his speech, Jussi Pesonen thanked the project team and all of the Kymi personnel, suppliers and partners for an excellent achievement.
“The construction of a competitive forest industry mill complex requires perseverance, and Kymi has maintained its competitiveness through operational efficiency and investments. In the past ten years, UPM has invested approximately EUR 550 million in the Kymi pulp mill and so far in the 21st century over EUR 900 million in total in the Kymi mill region,” says Jussi Pesonen.
Looking to the future competitiveness of the Finnish forest industry, Pesonen emphasised the significant impact of the operating environment and the role of the government. The government must keep its promise not to increase costs for the industry through political decisions. The labour market furthermore needs to be able to negotiate local agreements in order to ensure operational efficiency and delivery reliability to customers in varying demand situations. In addition, Pesonen highlighted the importance of an efficient wood supply chain and measures to ensure a stable wood supply from private forest owners.
A top-notch project in many respects
The Kymi expansion project was completed safely and on schedule alongside ongoing pulp and paper production. The ramp-up of pulp production was faster than expected, enabling the mill to reach its targets. The entire Kymi pulp and paper mill integrate benefits from the improved energy efficiency and operational flexibility brought by the investment project. The Kymi project was started in February 2014 and completed by the end of 2015. The new debarking plant started operation in June and the modernised softwood fibre line was commissioned in August along with new pulp drying machine, which was the largest single investment in the project. Other improvements made last summer include the expansion of the wood yard and the introduction of a new railway and wagon-loading system.
Today the Kymi integrated pulp and paper mill complex is even more energy-efficient and flexible than ever before. Its high energy efficiency and locally sourced wood reduce the carbon footprint of the mill’s products, which already now is close to zero. Over 90% of the energy produced at the Kymi mill is bioenergy.
The investment also has a positive effect on local employment rates and businesses. The increasing use of wood in the mill integrate will generate wood harvest and transportation work for forest industry professionals and stumpage earnings for forest owners.
In the picture: Jussi Pesonen and Juha Sipilä