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'Perfect storm' could see paper shortage hit Ireland this Christmas

Paper mills are being impacted by issues around shipping and labour
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

20.57 28 Oct 2021


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'Perfect storm' could see pape...

'Perfect storm' could see paper shortage hit Ireland this Christmas

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

20.57 28 Oct 2021


Share this article


Those hoping to unwrap a good book this Christmas could be in for a surprise, as a paper shortage is hitting some major suppliers.

British-based Vertebrate Publishing has claimed it is a continental-wide issue.

"It now looks that Europe has essentially run out of paper to print books on. Spent yesterday speaking to our factories and the story is the same throughout the continent. No paper now until the new year", the publisher tweeted.

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"Ebooks aren't the answer to the paper shortage. Panic buying presents from Amazon isn't either.

"But shopping local or direct with indie publishers is one way to keep good books alive," the company suggests.

Newstalk's deputy business editor Gavin McLoughlin told The Hard Shoulder paper mills are being hit from several angles.

"These paper mills are being impacted by a lot of the issues that we're seeing in other industries - a lot of things are causing them problems.

"Rising input costs is one problem: so we know energy prices are going up, and we've seen many other raw materials go up in price just because of factory shutdowns during COVID.

"There are problems with getting stuff shipped out, getting paper shipped out to all the various places - these are the general issues in shipping that we've heard about.

"There are issues with labour shortages as well; a lot of migrant workers.... would have returned home during the pandemic and they haven't come back.

"And that's caused problems in some areas as well".

And he says new environmental rules in China  have shut "hundreds of Chinese paper mills."

"So it's kind of a bit of a perfect storm".

Gavin adds that a lot of resources are being moved away from paper production in general.

"We know there's a lot of growth in e-commerce, and also a move away from the use of plastic in packaging.

"So when you look at the broader paper manufacturing market, if you like, it's packaging, it's cardboard stuff - that's where the growth is really"

He says while book sales have been good over the last number of years, other parts of the paper market - such as newspapers, writing paper and magazines - have been falling off.

"So what we're seeing is a lot of paper mills, and a lot of the raw materials that are used to make paper and packaging, the resources are being diverted to packaging stuff".

'Perfect storm' could see paper shortage hit Ireland this Christmas

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

    

Main image: A man browses in a WH Smiths outlet at Heathrow Airport in London, England in August 2009. Picture by: RichardBakerHeathrow / Alamy Stock Photo

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China Gavin McLoughlin Labour Shortages Packaging Paper Shortage The Hard Shoulder Vertebrate Publishing

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