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SunSirs: The German Paper Industry has Experienced a Significant Decline: Production has Hit a New Low in 20 Years

March 08 2024 14:31:49     SunSirs (Selena)

The pulp and paper industry in Germany has about 46,000 employees. In 2023, the production and sales declined significantly year on year, curbing the recovery after the COVID-19 epidemic, and the industry indicators have dropped to the lowest level in many years. According to the German Paper Industry Association, production in 2023 decreased by approximately 14% to 18.6 million tons, the lowest level in the past two decades.

The total sales of the industry decreased by 13% to 18.8 million tons; Total revenue decreased by 27% to 15.5 billion euros. The greater proportion of decrease in income compared to output also indicates a significant decrease in product prices, which affects the profitability of the enterprise. The industry expects innovative paper packaging solutions to bring new development momentum, reduce the use of fossil plastics, and provide sustainable alternatives.

The decline in the printing paper industry is particularly severe, with sales plummeting by 29% in 2023, significantly higher than other European markets. The sales of packaging paper and cardboard have also significantly decreased (by 7%). Smaller product categories such as toilet paper and specialty paper have been slightly affected, with sales both decreasing by 6%.

Hans Christoph Gallenkamp, CEO of special paper manufacturer Felix Schoeller, said, "Paper and cardboard are barometers of economic development. The decline in the main areas of printing and packaging reflects Germany's current economic weakness and challenging market conditions. Our competitiveness has been affected by the significant increase in energy costs.". We deeply feel the consequences of the hasty energy transition and Russia's attack on Ukraine. In addition, the continuous trend of digitization has had a profound impact on the printing industry, and the closure of factories and machines is a painful result

The economic downturn of 2023 and the weak start of 2024 have put pressure on many companies, especially considering that sales growth in 2022 has already declined. The high costs of energy, raw materials, and transportation, coupled with sudden political changes leading to increased uncertainty, continue to burden the company. Due to the crucial role played by the paper industry in the circular economy based on renewable resources, this situation is particularly challenging. The German Paper Industry Association urgently calls on policymakers to simplify administrative and regulatory requirements, guide energy transformation back on track, and support corporate transformation.


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