Why did we quickly discover a global shortage of toilet paper?

The basics The managing director of the world’s largest pulp manufacturer fears a global shortage of toilet paper. A possible shortage of freighters to transport the raw material comes into question.

Are we facing a global shortage of toilet paper? Walter Schalka, managing director of Suzano Papel e Celulose, the world’s leading manufacturer of cellulose, the raw material for the manufacture of toilet paper, fears this. And that’s not because of the many consumers who have stocked up since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic! In an interview with the US media company Bloomberg, Walter Schalka warns that the lack of containers for ocean freight could lead to a shortage of toilet paper.

Indeed, the unexpectedly rapid economic recovery, particularly in China, has led to an increase in European and American demand. However, the containers are insufficient and those that are in circulation are often blocked abroad due to the health crisis, which inevitably prolongs the delays in imports and also increases the costs. Since China does not have enough containers to meet this demand and deliver its goods worldwide, ocean freight companies have turned to break bulk carriers.

Deliveries already postponed

Freighters normally used by pulp manufacturers such as Suzano Papel e Celulose. According to Le Progr├Ęs, the Brazilian giant provides a third of the pulp used in the world to make toilet paper. Walter Schalka fears delivery delays that could accumulate in the coming months: Deliveries from March onwards have already been delayed to the following month.

Currently, toilet paper manufacturers can rely on their stocks. However, if this container crisis continues and worsens, these inventory levels could run out quickly and lead to a global toilet paper shortage. A shortage that would fall sharply at a time when the demand for toilet paper has never been so severe due to the pandemic and repeated restrictions around the world.