Eren’s Shotton containerboard machine to be ‘largest in UK’

EXCLUSIVE: Turkish cardboard and corrugated packaging firm Eren Holdings plans to convert UPM Shotton from a newsprint mill to the “second largest containerboard campus in the UK”.

Denbighshire says Shotton Mill is reducing its sorting facility for comingled material

The site, which has large areas of land around the mill, will also see the development of a 210,000 tonne per annum tissue production facility.

Currently the plans are in the name of Shotton Mill Ltd, but, from 1 October when Eren Holdings acquires the site from UPM, Shotton Mill Ltd will be owned by Eren. Once in situ, Shotton’s new containerboard machine will be the “largest and most technologically advanced” paper mill in the UK. The machine would have an annual output of 650,000 tonnes.

Eren agreed to acquire Shotton Mill in Flintshire, North Wales, from UPM Shotton in May (see story ). From 1 October, production of newsprint at the site will cease.

To convert the mill to its new purpose, Eren plans to redevelop the existing operational site, as well as developing some adjacent expansion land and a combined heat and power (CHP) plant.

The proposed redevelopment of the mill, which would have a combined total capacity of 970,000 tonnes per year, would see three separate “physically and functionally distinct” parts that share a number of facilities and operate under the same management regime.

Modern Karton

In a scoping report submitted to Flintshire council ahead of a formal planning application, consultancy SLR said on behalf of Eren: “The company has been looking for a suitable site in the UK to expand its paper and packaging division. They are delighted to have acquired an established paper production site, albeit that significant capital investment is required to change the type of paper produced and bring the building and plant up to modern sustainable standards.”

And, in a sign of Welsh Government support for the Eren development, the scoping report has had the involvement of Welsh ministers.

A family-owned company based in Turkey, Eren says it employs more than 8,000 people with an annual turnover in excess of €1.8 billion and total assets of more than €2.1 billion. Within the recovered paper sector, the company is also often referred to as Modern Karton.

Main site

The first of the three parts to the new Shotton site is the redeveloped 100,000m2 main site. It is proposed that this would incorporate two principal process units: the cardboard paper machine and the corrugating machine.

The proposed cardboard paper machine would produce cardboard from recycled paper and card
– Eren’s proposals for the Shotton site

The proposed cardboard paper machine, “the largest single machine in the UK”, would produce cardboard from recycled paper and card. Its production process would involve approach flow systems, a wire section, a press section, a drying section, a finishing section and a roll handling system.

The corrugating plant is to have a capacity of 105,000 tonnes per year.

Developments at the site will see the construction of buildings for the cardboard paper and corrugating machines, fibre storage tanks, ‘auxiliary facilities’, an effluent treatment facility comprising anaerobic digestion, and additional buildings for warehouses, dispatch, chemicals, truck loading building, conversion, admin, and reel storage. The heights of the proposed buildings are not expected to exceed 32m. Existing buildings including the materials recycling facility and a biomass plant are to be retained.


The second and third parts to Eren’s redeveloped site are the expansion site and the CHP plant.

A former part of Shotton steelworks demolished in the 1980s, Eren’s expansion site would house new tissue paper production facilities. Tissue production would comprise three separate units capable of producing 70,000 tonnes of ‘jumbo rolls’ per year.

In terms of new buildings, the expansion site will see the construction of a finished goods warehouse, three tissue machine buildings, and other buildings for reel storage, conversion, pulp storage, and truck loading. The proposed new floor space associated with the tissue manufacturing production on the expansion site would be approximately 85,000m2.

The expansion site would also incorporate a finished goods warehouse, which would hold up to 25,000 pallets (or, 300,000 tonnes). Eren says this would be stock for 20 days.

Eren says the CHP plant is proposed to provide additional power to Shotton Mill. It is intended to achieve 80% efficiency, which Eren says could reduce carbon emissions by up to 30%.

The CHP site, which is to be adjacent to the existing biomass plant, will comprise a new gas-fired CHP facility with 50MWe capacity, back-up diesel generators and associated electrical equipment.

‘Close the gaps’

Eren says analysis of the paper industry shows that the UK is currently a net importer of both containerboard products and tissue products. The country is also a net exporter of recycled (waste) paper. Eren says its proposed Shotton development is intended to “close both these gaps” by increasing production at the site.

UPM has operated a MRF at Shotton in north Wales for 10 years and the facility is to remain under Eren

Eren says the proposed redevelopment would require a “substantially greater” number of people, and that they will look to transfer existing staff to the manufacturing facility “as much as possible”.

In terms of numbers, Eren says the carboard paper production facility would require 160 employees, the corrugated paper and box facility 203, the tissue paper facility 410 and the CHP plant 80, making a total of 853.


UPM Shotton was founded in 1983. During the height of production in the 1990s the mill is said to have employed 530 people; with the decline in newsprint demand those numbers have reduced to the current 190. Eren says it will retain the “large skilled and experienced” workforce after the conversion of the site.

Due to the decline in newspaper circulation, demand for the newsprint products currently produced at the existing works is “low and diminishing”.

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