A logistics solution tailored for the needs of Metsä Group will raise the efficiency and accuracy of the pulp production chain at Äänekoski bioproduct mill to a new level.
Metsä Fibre has taken careful steps to ensure that pulp deliveries from the bioproduct mill to customers will be handled efficiently as soon as the mill has started up. Pulp deliveries from the new mill to customers will begin in early September 2017. Once the bioproduct mill is fully operational, Metsä Fibre's pulp production capacity will grow from 2.5 million tonnes to 3.2 million tonnes in total.
“We’ve planned the production chain in cooperation with our customers and service providers. I’m extremely confident of our ability to get the job done well,” says Tarja Nousiainen, Metsä Fibre’s VP, Pulp Supplies.
Nousiainen heads a logistics team operating at Kemi, the delivery design team located in Rauma and the Joutseno-based sales support team, all of which are responsible for the pulp delivery process from the mill warehouse to customer invoicing.
“It is our job to deliver the agreed amount of quality product to the customer without mistakes, at the right time, and in the way preferred by the customer. A total of about twenty top professionals are handling these tasks in our teams.”
A comprehensive logistics solution
The construction of an entirely new production unit has provided Metsä Fibre with an excellent opportunity to increase the efficiency of the pulp production chain in great leaps.
“We’ve developed new operating models to ensure the bioproduct mill’s delivery process. One of the most important areas is the bioproduct mill’s automated pulp distribution centre,” says Nousiainen.
The cutting-edge distribution centre improves the quality and accuracy of pulp deliveries. The entire production can be buffered automatically and sorted according to product type and customer order.
“The automation and new technology have required a considerable effort in the development and integration of IT systems in cooperation with our service providers. The work has progressed well, and in terms of the systems, we’ll be ready in June.”
Pulp to Vuosaari by rail
In the distribution centre of the bioproduct mill, every bale of pulp is furnished with an RFID tag, which makes the products easy to trace.
“Once the mill is fully operational, two trains of export pulp will head from Äänekoski to the Vuosaari port in Helsinki every weekday. On Sundays, there will be one train. In addition, the pulp delivered to customers in Finland will be transported by truck and train on a daily basis.”
The loading of a rail freight carriage that transports 1,400 tonnes of pulp from the distribution centre to Vuosaari is carried out in six hours with two automated storage unit lifts and two semi-automatic overhead cranes.
“Our rail transport partner, VR Transpoint, has been involved in the planning of the logistics solution from the very beginning. The new operating model is indeed tailored precisely for the needs of the bioproduct mill and Metsä Fibre,” says Nousiainen.
Metsä Fibre has also built its own product warehouse at Vuosaari which can house 80,000 tonnes of pulp.
“Export logistics will be based on a comprehensive new solution. VR Transpoint will be responsible for the rail transport of goods and for port operations in cooperation with Oy M. Rauanheimo Ab.”
Across the world by ship
Some 70 per cent of the 1.3 million tonnes of pulp produced by the bioproduct mill will be exported.
“At Vuosaari, the pulp will be loaded on ships as bulk cargo, in containers or as trailer loads,” says Nousiainen.
According to her, there is plenty of demand for high-quality softwood pulp around the world. On the markets, the additional volume generated by the bioproduct mill will be clearly visible as of 2018.
“The greatest growth potential is in Asia, and particularly China. In Europe, demand has remained steady, and growth is also visible in the Middle East and North Africa. Naturally, we’ve already increased our sales efforts to a considerable degree.”
Keeping a finger on the customer's pulse
Alongside a quality product, success in the pulp markets requires a reliable and efficient production chain. The seller must be able to anticipate the future needs of a demanding customer increasingly accurately.
Nousiainen point outs that Metsä Fibre intends to keep in touch with customers with increasing frequency.
One of the practical tools for this purpose will be the new Fiber Online service, to be launched in August.
“It’ll allow our customers to monitor deliveries and a variety of related data,” says Nousiainen.