Paper Excellence has announced the temporary curtailment of operations at its Catalyst Paper Tis’kwat (pronounced Tees-kwat) mill.
According to a November 18 media release from Paper Excellence, severe challenges with local and global supply chain congestion, exacerbated by BC’s recent atmospheric river event, have caused significant paper inventory and movement problems for the company. The release stated the curtailment is targeted to begin during the week of November 22 and the company will evaluate conditions for potential restart in early January 2022.
In an interview with the Peak, UNIFOR Local 76 president Bill Spence said the union received the announcement about 10 minutes before the public announcement was made, so the union hasn’t had a chance to really sit down as a group and figure things out.
“We’ve been in this position before and we’ll get our crews through it again,” said Spence. “It’s a bad time of year for the curtailment, but when is a good time? Unfortunately, we’ve had too much practice at it.”
Spence said the union has been told the curtailment is because of the supply chain issues and all of the roads being closed, so it’s out of the union’s hands.
“We’ve been making our product and making more than they thought we could and we’re doing a good job,” said Spence. “Our members have been doing great work, but this is one that is out of our control. That, and the old-growth forest, is not helping us now. Hopefully, the government comes through with transition money and help with the future because it’s not going to be pretty for the next little while.
“What it means is there is less fibre available for the mills. For some mills, it could be the end. For us, fibre has been an issue, so this doesn’t help.”
Paper Excellence will endeavour to supply paper customers with production from its Crofton and Port Alberni mills as it hopes for a speedy return to normalcy of supply chain performance, according to the release. Crofton’s pulp and paper operations are currently curtailed until November 24 with its power boiler’s maintenance outage
The media release stated that Paper Excellence continues to believe that Canada is a leader in the pulp and paper industry and remains committed to its long-term investments here.