The use of pulp in a multitude of industries such as wood and paper manufacturing, packaging, and food/beverages has played a vital role in market growth. Various types of pulp can be obtained from natural sources such as trees, bamboo, and teak. The use of pulp as an intermediary material for manufacturing several finished goods or items has played a defining role in market growth and maturity. Pulp obtained from old rags, fiber crops, and cellulose fibers has gained popularity in recent times. The growing relevance of pulp in the field of paper manufacturing has given a thrust to market growth.
- As the energy sector focuses on the use of recyclable and biodegradable materials, the demand for wood- and paper-based pulp has increased. Polyethene bags have been replaced by paper bags in recent times.
- In addition to this, harvesting of various trees that are viable sources of pulp have also attracted the attention of the manufacturers. The total volume of revenues within the global pulp market is set to increase in the years to follow.
- Pulping technologies have attracted the eyes of several investors, and this trend shall also play a crucial role in market maturity over the next decade.
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The demand within the global pulp market is set to rise on account of advancements in paper manufacturing. The presence of a seamless industry for paper manufacturing has enabled several new entities to enter the industry. The pulp market spans into a multitude of industries, including textiles, paper, food and beverages, and automobiles. The use of wooden pulp in the field of furniture manufacturing, and for producing soft pieces used in the residential sector, has given an impetus to market growth. There is growing relevance of chemical research across several industries, and development of usable pulp is also an outcome of improved research. The revenues index of the global pulp market is expected to improve over the course of the next decade.
- The value of the global pulp market has perpetually increased over the past decade. Pulp obtained from bamboo, jute, and grass is extensively used across a multitude of industries. In addition to this, the emergence of dedicated industries to manufacture wood pulp is an important dynamic of market growth. The next decade is slated to witness increased popularity of pulp made from straw, wheat, corn, and rice. This factor shall directly aid the growth of the global food and beverages industry in the times to follow. Cotton pulp is also in great demand across several industries, and this is an important dynamic of market growth.
- The textile industry has increased its research budget over the past few years. This trend shall result in easier procurement and manufacturing jute and flex pulp. Furthermore, hemp pulp is also gaining popularity across the textiles sector. The automobile industry has lately emerged as a prominent consumer of pulp in recent times. As end-use industries reconcile their manufacturing dynamics, the total volume of revenues within the global pulp market is set to multiply.
Pulp Market: Golden Age for 3D Printing Creating New Opportunities for Manufacturers
Manufacturers in the pulp market have been struggling to compete with the advantageous attributes of plastic in commercial and domestic commodities since the past few years. However, strict regulations by governments to impose a ban on plastic and its applications in various domains have created opportunity windows for players of the pulp market across various other industries.
Stakeholders are finding new alternatives for plastic, with raw materials such as wood, metal, plastic, textiles, and ceramics. These alternative materials are helping manufacturers in prototyping the attributes of plastic in commercial and domestic commodities. One such innovation is paper pulp 3D (3 Dimensional) printers that extrude the paper waste with a natural binder, which helps in creating aesthetically-pleasing 3D models.
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Paper pulp 3D printers can be used for the designing of various printed objects, and players of the pulp market are using this technique to emphasize a tactile experience of the objects with bold lines and distinctive shapes. The process of reducing wood or paper fibers into individual cellulose fibers attributes to the strong and durable quality of the printed paper. Thus, the unique look of the print gives the printed model an exclusive personality for consumers who are constantly in search of something very uncommon.
Beer Holthuis, a product designer from the Netherlands operating in the pulp market, channelized his interest for 3D modeling and additive manufacturing, and announced the launch of the one-of-its-kind paper pulp printer that sustainably prints 3D models from paper waste. Thus, this low cost alternative with its sustainable aspect has a bright potential for designers and manufacturers in the future.
Another trend that is catching the attention of pulp manufacturers is the use of 3D printing in the furniture industry and interior designing sector. 3D printing material is a valuable renewable resource that stores carbon and can be easily recycled. As such, wood-based waste can be up-cycled into wood polymer composite and can be used to make furniture. Likewise, researchers at the Michigan Technological University used furniture feedstock as a 3D printer filament to produce furniture components.
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Print Marketing and Packaging Capture the Attention of Pulp Manufacturers
The popular belief that the digitization of business operations in various industry domains is going to make paper and forest-product industries shut down has been stressing pulp manufacturers since the past few years. However, the reality does not seem to be so superficial, as paper and print companies still hold a major stake of their target customers who prefer the extensive exposure that paper and print commodities provide, such as magazines, books, and newspapers.
The global pulp market is estimated to be valued at ~US$ 237 billion by the end of 2019, and is anticipated to reach ~US$ 333 billion by 2027. Although the pulp market is growing at moderate speed, the packaging industry is expected to grow all over the world, thereby influencing the important trends in the pulp market in the coming years.
Increasing demand for lightweight paper packaging has been fostering the growth of the pulp market, resulting in the growing trend of strategic collaborations among pulp manufacturers and stakeholders in the packaging industry. For instance, Mondi Group — a leading global packaging and paper company, announced the acquisition of Powerflute Group Holdings, which is a division of Nordic Packaging and Container Holdings. This strategic partnership supports the business plan by investing in high quality packaging and paper assets, which will aid Mondi Group in widening its containerboard product fleet and create more geographical expansion opportunities in other potential regions.
Apart from this, numerous other labs and development centers are increasing their research & development initiatives to provide consumers with sustainable and low-cost alternatives in softwood product offerings and its components.
Manufacturers’ Move towards Sustainable Raw Materials to Give Rise to Non-wood Pulp Products
Pulp manufacturers are capitalizing on environmentally-sustainable ways to revolutionize pulp production with the help of non-wood pulp substitutes, such as wheat straw, to produce commodities such as paper towels, packaging, facial tissues, and molded fiber for single-use plates and cups, alongside de-icing and dust-abatement agents. These applications of non-wood pulp are aiding manufacturers in producing high-quality, commodity, and specialty straw pulp, which is directly offered for sale to paper and packaging manufacturers as an alternative to wood-based pulp materials.
Thereby, though wood pulp accounts for ~three-fourth revenue share of the pulp market, the demand for non-wood pulp and recycled pulp is expected to increase at a faster rate in the coming years. With the rising demand for sustainable non-wood fiber in North America, Columbia Pulp — a leading global pulp manufacturer, collaborated with Allnorth — another leader in multidisciplinary engineering and construction services consulting, to facilitate the pulp market in North America with quality-specific non-wood fiber-based pulp products that are either as good as or even better than hardwood and recycled pulp.
This collaboration has also helped improve the air quality at one of the densest wheat producing regions of North America, Snake River, in Washington State which was otherwise under the predicament of burning down huge volumes of wheat straw, and has created employment opportunities for farmers.
Eco-friendly Packaging Emerges as the Key to Win in the Pulp Market
Forward-thinking consumers are always on the lookout for environmental-friendly, sustainable, and easy-to-reuse packaging products, and this demand is met by lightweight paper packaging manufacturers. Likewise, U.K.’s supermarket chain Iceland, announced the end of plastic packaging for bananas, and instead introduced recycled paper bands, in an initiative to eliminate all the plastic packaging for its own-brand products at its stores.
Further to this, even governments are encouraging companies to manufacture biodegradable materials for packaging. This phenomena has been helping consumers to meet their demands for sustainable packaging, and companies are capable of fulfilling the strict regulatory provisions made by governments a win-win situation for both. Thus, abiding by the stringent regulatory policies made by the Russian government, Arkhangelsk Pulp and Paper Mill announced investments in Valmet Oyj, a Finnish technology company, to leverage its technology so as to produce high-quality and lightweight kraftliner and improve production flexibility.
The growing demand for wood pulp-based packaging is estimated to create new pressures for the pulp industry’s supply chains. This demand is prominent in the Southeast Asia region for the supply of paper-based packaging and wood fiber for non-paper products. Also, the growing backlash against plastic consumption has put wood pulp-based packaging into the spotlight where products such as paper and paperboard hold a major stake in the global pulp market, especially in Southeast Asian countries.
Players of the Pulp Market to Depute Investments for Restructuring Production Units
The pulp & paper sector has always been associated with the risks of deforestation, especially in regions such as Southeast Asia, which substantially lack technological innovations. The growing demand for pulp and paper products further aggravates the delicate scenario of depleting forest covers. Although companies are introducing alternatives such as recycled packaging or up-cycled furniture, sustainable business operations have not been adopted by all paper and pulp manufacturers. Also, governments are limiting traditional business operations for pulping processes, as they result in hazardous greenhouse emissions.
Amidst these challenges in the pulp market, most stakeholders are moving towards adopting partial, if not complete, environment-friendly production operations. Especially in Europe, manufacturers are seeking to achieve low effluent volumes, high levels of energy efficiency, and effective material use to acquire high pulping yield by minimizing the use of fossil fuels.
For instance, the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) a European association representing the paper and pulp industry, has set a benchmark by encouraging manufacturers to adopt eco-friendly and sustainable production operations. The association has announced the launch of a dynamic ‘live’ sustainability platform which broadcasts news and current affairs of companies who are making efforts towards sustainable production of paper and pulp products. Other strategies that can help manufacturers emerge in the market include providing pulp products that offer optimum protection at relatively competitive prices.
Growing Investments for Expansion of Pulp Production Capacity Propelling Market Growth
- According to Transparency Market Research’s latest market report on the pulp market for the historical period of 2014-2018 and forecast period of 2019-2027, the increased demand for paper-based packaging formats as well as continuous use of pulp for manufacturing print & tissue paper are projected to drive the growth of the pulp market.
- Globally, revenue generated by the pulp market is estimated to be ~US$ 237 Bn in 2019, and is projected to expand at a CAGR of ~4% in terms of value during the forecast period.
Pulp – An In-separable Part of Papermaking, to Display Sustained Demand
- Pulp is basically made from the fibrous part of plants, mostly trees, and is the prime ingredient in the process of papermaking. During the course of papermaking, pulp is extracted by the breaking down of either wood chips or paper recovered for recycling.
- The rapid growth in print media and packaging applications is translating into the greater sales of paper pulp.
- Pulp is used in the manufacturing of consumer products such as cardboard, tissue paper, newspaper, paper bags & envelops, paper cups, notebooks, magazines, and more.
- Finished packaging formats derived from paper pulp lead to cost-effective, sustainable, and eco-friendly packaging solutions.
Global Pulp Market Volume Projected to Expand ~ 1.4x Over the Forecast Period
- The global pulp market is expected to register steady growth, owing to the rising application of pulp in paper-based packaging. This growth is expected to be driven by increased intolerance towards plastic packaging formats for processed food & beverages as well as pharmaceuticals.
Global Pulp Market: Key Research Findings
- The market for pulp is predominantly controlled by manufacturers that are based in North America, East Asia and Northern Europe.
- Over the last few years, the pulp market has undergone mounting political, economic, and environmental pressures, to lessen its production volume as well as toxicity of its industrial wastewater.
- The sourcing of wood pulp for papermaking remains a key concern, and has a substantial impact on environmental outcomes around the world. This has led to the emergence of recovered pulp over the last two decades.
- Also, global manufacturers in the pulp market are largely investing in the expansion and restructuring of production units/mills. For instance:
- BillerudKorsnas AB, a Sweden-based paper and pulp manufacturing company, invested US$ 29.5 Mn in its Skarblacka pulp production unit. This investment enabled improvement in the quality of produced pulp, and also increased the capacity of the machines from 20,000 t/a to 180,000 t/a. The company foresees strong potential for the pulp market in South East Asia.
Preference for Print Marketing to Boost Pulp & Paper Market Growth
- Although digital marketing turns out to be a cost-economical promotional strategy, print magazines or newspaper ads give more exposure to brands as compared to online advertising. Printed advertisements also increase brand favourability and purchase intent towards the product. Printed promotion turns-out to be handy, re-readable, and tamper-proof, unlike digital advertisements, which increases the reliance on the content/product by customers.
- According to a survey by Two Sides (Research Organization), most respondents prefer print media to be more tactile. They also believe that information on printed paper is more genuine. All these factors are expected to contribute toward escalating the growth of the pulp market during the forecast period.
Global Pulp Market: Competition Landscape
- Detailed profiles of the key players operating in the pulp market are included in the report to assess their key product offerings, financials, recent developments, and strategies.
- Some of the key players operating in the global pulp market are
- Westrock Company
- International Paper
- Stora Enso Pulp AB
- Georgia-Pacific Corp.
- Kimberly-Clark Corp.
- Oji Holdings Corporation.
- Nippon Paper Group
- Asia Pulp and Paper Group
- Nordic Paper Holding AB
- Mercer International Group
- Metsä Board Corporation
- BillerudKorsnäs AB
- Nine Dragons Paper Limited
- Sappi Group
- Rama Pulp and Papers Limited
- Gulf Paper Manufacturing Company
- Nisseysangyo Co., Ltd.
- Canny Tissue Paper Industry (L.L.C)
- Metropolic Paper Industries Inc.
Global Pulp Market: Key Developments
- Manufacturers of paper pulp are actively engaged in capacity expansion and mergers & acquisition activities to expand their businesses and explore different markets.
- In 2019, Nine Dragon acquired two fully-integrated pulp mills in the U.S., located in Rumford, Maine and Biron, Wisconsin. Also, in October, the Group completed the acquisition of a pulp mill in Old Town, Maine, U.S.
- In 2017, UPM Pulp invested US$ 160 Mn for the expansion of the Kymi pulp mill in Kuusankoski, Finland.
- In 2016, International Paper completed the acquisition of Holmen’s Madrid, Spain paper mill, as well as associated recycling operations and 50% ownership in the joint venture.
- In 2016, Nippon Paper Industries Co., Ltd. collaborated with Tokuchu Tokai Paper Co. Ltd., a manufacturer of paper pulp and paper products, to integrate the sales functions and optimize production capacities.
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