A devil’s brew of natural disasters and man-made economic exigencies is spreading “havoc” and “turmoil” throughout the paper supply chain, according to one paper merchant. At its blog, Millcraft Papers (Cleveland, OH) advises printers not to panic, but it also urges them to plan for the likelihood of tightened access to paper for the remainder of the year. A post dated March 15 gives a litany of reasons for potential shortages and actual price increases: • A strike by port stevedores in Finland has blocked exports and shut down mills in that major paper-producing country. • That labor action and the effects of the great earthquake in Chile on February 27 have affected the combined production of about 12% of the world’s pulp. • Severe winter weather in the U.S. further curtailed the pulp harvest, particularly in the Southeast. • St. Marys Paper Corp. and NewPage Corp. have ordered production halts or moratoriums on new orders in certain heavily used grades. The bottom line, says the blog, is that pulp prices in the U.S. reached $900 per ton last week—the biggest seven-day increase in six years. Millcraft’s recommendation: “It's more important than ever to shore up your supply chain...If you don’t already have a relationship with at least two different paper distributors, now would be the time to begin to reach out to those suppliers.” The post also links to a report from the Bloomberg business news service about the effects of the Chilean and Finnish situations on global pulp prices.