Port Hawkesbury Paper not taking more wood

POINT TUPPER: The last major mill in the province has stopped accepting wood deliveries.

The decision comes as Port Hawkesbury Paper (PHP) deals with the declining market and now the added effects from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

In a statement, the company said it is an evolving situation and they will continue to monitor and adjust operations as required.

“We are very cognizant of and regret the impact these actions will have on all those affected,” the statement reads. “This will not have an impact on deliveries of paper to our customers.”

Deliveries at this time of year are generally reduced due to soft ground conditions and spring weight restrictions throughout the industry, but as the plant prepares for their scheduled slowdown, the mill has been forced to take additional measures because of the global pandemic.

The decision will directly impact sawmills across the province, a number of whom had been sending their wood and wood chips to the paper mill since the closure of Northern Pulp.

With the shutdown of Northern Pulp, officials with Port Hawkesbury Paper temporarily agreed to take on wood chips and pulpwood from the mainland to help alleviate impacted woodlot operations.

It was made clear, Port Hawkesbury Paper wasn’t using any additional wood – they were just buying more wood – during a time where the Nova Scotia forestry industry diminished from losing its major player.

“We have a healthy inventory,” the statement said. “We would be able to ride through here with the inventory that we have well into the early summer.”

The company said the decision was a difficult choice as it will impact employees responsible for receiving, but added it’s too soon to speak about possible lay-offs.