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Montevideo, May 20th 2019 - 09:02 UTC

Uruguay needs to improve infrastructure, “especially roads and port facilities”

Monday, September 29th 2014 - 08:54 UTC
Full article 11 comments
UPM flattered with president Mujica, ”but the construction of a new pulp mill is currently not on UPM’s agenda” UPM flattered with president Mujica, ”but the construction of a new pulp mill is currently not on UPM’s agenda”

Finland's UPM, one of the largest forestry groups in the world, does not intend for the moment to build any new pulp mills in Uruguay, said Jaakko Sarantola, vice president of the cellulose division of the company, who also pointed out that Uruguay needs to improve infrastructure to facilitate logistics.

 Earlier this month Uruguay's president Jose Mujica travelled to Finland to meet with the board of UPM to boost negotiations to build another pulp mill in the country, anticipating Finland was interested in keeping investing in Uruguay.

“We’re flattered that president Mujica traveled from Uruguay to talk to us. We are ready to speak with the Uruguayan government, but the construction of a new pulp mill is currently not on UPM’s agenda” Sarantola said in an interview at the time.

He added that before UPM can boost their investments in Uruguay, the government needs to “improve the infrastructure to facilitate logistics, especially the road network and port facilities”.

“We know Uruguay very well, we have been working there for almost 25 years and we are aware of the opportunities and challenges facing the country,” he added.

The meeting, according to Sarantola, focused instead on the need to improve the infrastructure of Uruguay, “a prerequisite for progress in the development of this industry.”

Mujica and UPM executives also discussed the importance of education for technically-trained personnel in the fields of engineering and forestry.

“The foundation of competitiveness is to have enough people ready to develop this activity, especially when it comes to small countries with limited resources such as Uruguay and Finland,” Sarantola added.

UPM’s operations in Uruguay include the pulp mill in Fray Bentos on the banks of the Uruguay River, and another UPM logging company in Forestal Oriental, which manages about 230,000 hectares (568,000 acres) of land, of which 60% are eucalyptus plantations.

UPM acquired these businesses from the Finnish company Botnia in 2009 in a 2.4 billion deal. Last June, the Finnish group was authorized by the Uruguayan government to increase production to 1.3 million tons per year, which rekindled a diplomatic dispute with Argentina.

According to Sarantola, the factory will not reach full capacity until the second half of 2015, as it will be necessary to get “small additional investment” in order to increase the production process.

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  • ChrisR

    “Mujica and UPM executives also discussed the importance of education for technically-trained personnel in the fields of engineering and forestry.”

    AND THAT, as the old saying goes is THE problem in Uruguay.

    I know quite a few youngsters now and they all want to be accountants or carpenters or mechanics, one wants to be a dentist (his mom is my dentist): why should that be? The answer is clear and the reason this beutiful country is stuck in the mud of taxation, taxation: the past and present governments have missed the opportunity to retrain part of the 600,000 who 'work' for the government into private business and make the country productive.

    Sep 29th, 2014 - 11:50 am 0
  • Argenfellow

    “The meeting, according to SARANTOLA, focused instead on the need to improve the infrastructure of Uruguay, 'a prerequisite of progress in the development of this industry' ”.

    Mr. Sarantola´s delicacy omitted to mention that Uruguay´s roads have been virtually destroyed by the giant trucks carrying eucalyptus trunks whilst “developing this industry”. It also extended to silence who will pay for their rebuilding.

    Sep 29th, 2014 - 04:53 pm 0
  • redp0ll

    Those timber trucks wouldn't be on the road if the rail system had been upgraded as promised by Mujica

    Sep 29th, 2014 - 05:45 pm 0
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