Green Bay Innovation Group

Wisconsin Paper Industry – The End of an Era and What Can Be Done to Rebuild it!

Wisconsin Paper Industry – The End of an Era and What Can Be Done to Rebuild it!

Unrecognized Success

The Green Bay Innovation Group will be putting together an informal meeting to discuss the current paper situation to get a better understanding of the present and future of Paper Making in Wisconsin.  If you are interested in participating, please contact me at: 608-698-3333 cell or email me at:   

The Wisconsin Paper Industry over the past few years has changed dramatically and it will have major impact on the 5P, Converting and Supporting Industries.  See China below!  

  1. The Flambeau Paper Mill confirmed to me they no longer have any power to run the plant with the power being sold to another business! Simply, the three paper machines will probably be sold to foreign nations and we will have to import paper from them.  The paper produced at the former Flambeau mill is currently on allotments with 8-10 weeks or longer lead times.  Wisconsin has a large number of printers, envelope companies and converters in desperate need of uncoated offset papers that were produced at the mill! Guangdong Paper in XinHui, China is putting in a new high capacity fine paper making line to produce top-quality woodfree uncoated paper grades with the start up scheduled for 2022 with 2 million tons of pulp and 1 million tons of fine paper.  China will be exporting the paper to the USA to the largest Printing and Converting companies in the USA!   * Note: China has also purchased large printing presses from a Wisconsin based printing company along with increasing their pulp imports from Russia!
  2. Georgia-Pacific has shut down the its 121-year old Day Street Mill moving production of toilet paper, napkins and other paper products to other locations. The move will eliminate nearly 200 jobs and it is expected that employees with be able to get jobs at the Broadway Mill. Green Bay wants to thank GB for their other expansion plans in Green Bay with their new distribution center.  Why can’t we get GB to build a new paper machine at the Day Street Mill instead of building plants in other states?  China has expanded their tissue mills and they will be exporting products across the globe including the USA!
  3. Verso Corporation acquired by BillerudKorsnas based in Sweden with the Wisconsin Rapids mill future uncertain. The mill was a premier producer of commercial coated printing paper products in desperate need at this time with allotments and long lead times! Based upon discussions with a number of parties, the cost to get the mill back up in running is prohibitive. At some point, We expect it to end up selling the machines overseas or for scrap! Don’t be surprised if China buys it!  We need to open up dialog with BillerudKosnas to look at potential opportunities to support the 5P Industries!
  4. ND Paper, the Biron Wisconsin mill will be converting its B26 paper machine at the end of 2022 from coated mechanical papers to lightweight recycled packaging paper products.  The industry will lose 260,000 tons annually for end users like catalogs, magazines, inserts and other printed products.  Wisconsin has a number of Publication and Catalog printers and they are desperate for printing papers and it will force a number of them out of business!
  5. Clearwater Paper closed the Neenah facility with approximately 300 people losing their jobs!
  6. Blackstone Tactical Opportunities acquires Sustana Fiber a De Pere, WI based company.
  7. Midwest Paper Group in Combined Locks sold to a Mexican-based company producing packaging grade papers.  
  8. Appleton-based Appvion purchased by Wynnchurch L.P. a private equity firm which is based in Rosemont, Ill.   
  9. Georgia-based Neenah Paper announced it plans to cease operations at its mill in Appleton.
  10. ST. Paper LLC: Andritz to supply high-speed tissue machine to St. Paper in Duluth, MN.

We see Paper Machines being built outside of Wisconsin and around the world.  We are becoming more dependent on foreign paper companies especially for printing, labeling and converting papers. We will see more and more tissue products being manufactured outside the USA.  Wisconsin was the leader in the world in paper production and innovation.  Wisconsin is losing new facilities to other states and we ask why!  Wisconsin has ALL the advantages to rebuild our paper industry with vast resources to support the industry.  We need more leadership, financial resources, direction and a commitment to re-build the paper industry in Wisconsin with bipartisanship support!  If not, our forestry, pulp, printing, converting and ALL of the industries supporting the paper industry will be in serious trouble and having a major impact on the Wisconsin economy!     

Green Bay Innovation Group

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Phone: 608-698-3333
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