Quarter century: one chart tells the printing paper story

As the end of the second decade of the twenty first century closes in, it is natural to reflect on the past, to see what it tells us about the future. Using the longest run data available to us – a quarter century – this first part of our year-ending feature provides an opportunity to examine the trade in paper and paperboard.

Australia’s paper and paperboard markets are constantly changing. No different to most markets, trends come and go and the influence of one product changes relative to other products.

If there is one fissure in  paper markets over the last twenty-five years, it is 2009’s Global Financial Crisis. Imports of Printing and Communication Papers totalled a record 1.206 million tonnes over the year-ended December 2008. They plunged 30% the next year under the influence of the global crash, recovered some ground subsequently, but never returned to their 2008 heights.

By the year-ended September 2019, imports totalled just 0.580 million tonnes. By year-end, domestic production will be reduced to just two mills (Norske Skog’s Boyer in Tasmania and Australian Paper’s Maryvale in Victoria). Closures over the last decade were the Burnie, Wesley Vale and Shoalhaven mills.


Australian Imports of Printing & Communication Papers by Grade: SQ’94 – SQ’19 (ktpq)

Source: ABS & IndustryEdge


MWC = Medium Weight Coated Mechanical

LWC = Light Weight Coated Mechanical

CWF = Coated Woodfree

UCWF = Uncoated Woodfree

UCM = Uncoated Mechanical


This is an edited extract of an item that first appeared in edition 171 of Pulp & Paper Edge (December 2019)

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