Portuguese Paper Maker Targets U.S. Printers, Contributes to Portugal's Green Initiatives
SETÚBAL, PORTUGAL—grupo Portucel Soporcel (gPS), one of Europe’s major manufacturers of uncoated wood-free paper, as well as Europe’s largest manufacturer of bleached Eucalyptus Kraft pulp, is making strides in the United States. gPS exports 92 percent of its total production, and 10 percent of its sales come from the United States.
The company operates mills in Setúbal, Cacia and Figueira da Foz, Portugal. It's Figueira da Foz mill—the largest single office and offset paper facility in Europe—produces the Navigator, Soporset and Discovery brands for the U.S. market. Its main office in North America is located in Norwalk, CT, with five warehouses—in Los Angeles; Houston; Port Elizabeth, NJ; Baltimore and Savannah, GA—to serve both the East and West coasts.
“By having stock in several warehouses, we’re able to service our customers more efficiently,” explains Jason Horst, sales manager.
With a strong commitment to provide customers with the stocks they want, the company believes that market research with sheetfed printers is key to knowing what they rank as the most important attributes in a white opaque and offset paper sheet. In 2006, after conducting a survey with 403 sheetfed printers throughout the United States, respondents ranked good quality of the cut and even cut between sheets, regularity of quality, low level of paper jams, good price value ratio, and high print quality and definition in full color printing as the top attributes.
To produce its Navigator brand of papers, gPS uses the Eucalyptus globulus species because—within photosynthesis—it is known as a “hard worker,” and has the ability to regenerate itself in harmony with the environment. The Eucalyptus globulus pulp also offers several advantages for producing paper such as: high opacity, good formation and porosity, high stiffness, as well as high bulk and high dimensional stability. Compared with other trees, it provides more pulp and more paper for the same amount of wood, and the low lignin content requires less chemicals in pulp making.