The Sappi Southern Africa sales and marketing team moved swiftly to re-establish local and regional supply chains by expanding the Sappi portfolio of grades. One key grade identified was bleached PrimePak. The PrimePak grade has a strategic advantage in that demand is non-cyclical, due to its end-use applications for packaging food staples such as flour, sugar and maize meal.
The Sappi Technology Centre (STC) and Sales and Marketing teams together with Stanger Mill, conducted a market competitive analysis to gather insights into the quality and composition of paper required in this market, as well as potential customers and the demand gap left by reduced imports.
Stanger Mill uses bagasse pulp (sugar cane waste residue) in the fibre mix. This provides a cost advantage, but simultaneously, the short fibre length compromises the much-needed strength properties for PrimePak grades.
To overcome this challenge, the STC evaluated different furnish blends from both a cost and strength perspective and arrived at a suitable market pulp.
The first mill trial was successfully run in July 2020 and the team is currently awaiting the results of customer trials to enable further product optimisation.