Story at a glance

  • Suzano SA CEO Walter Schalka, whose firm produces the wood pulp that's key to manufacturing bath tissue, told Bloomberg shipping problems threaten to delay his company’s shipments from South America.
  • The shipping container shortage problem has been playing out for months due to high demand from China and the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the global economy.
  • Schalka says his company is facing the threat of exporting less of the raw material than planned this month and shipments could spill over into April, clogging supply lines.

In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, panic buying and stockpiling left stores across the country without a critical product: toilet paper. 

Several months into the coronavirus crisis, however, Americans became more adjusted to lockdowns, the toilet paper panic largely subsided and the shortage soon became yesterday’s news. 


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But now experts say a brand new toilet paper shortfall could be on the horizon due to the lack of availability of shipping containers and space on cargo ships. 

Suzano SA CEO Walter Schalka, whose firm produces the wood pulp that’s key to manufacturing bath tissue, told Bloomberg shipping problems threaten to delay his company’s shipments from South America and could ultimately leave store shelves tissue-less once again. 

The shipping container shortage problem has been playing out for months due to high demand from China and the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the global economy. 

Suzano SA transports its materials in loose quantities called “break bulk.”

Schalka says his company is facing the threat of exporting less of the raw material than planned this month and shipments could spill over into April, clogging supply lines. If wood pulp trade experiences significant setbacks, bathroom tissue producers may be left without sufficient supplies to put out their product. 

“All the South American players which export through break bulk have faced this risk,” he told Bloomberg. 

Brazil is a top producer of pulp, and Suzano accounts for about a third of the world’s global supplies.


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Published on Mar 25, 2021