Pulp News

UPM’s new pulp mill adds more than 10 million hours worked

It is stated that of the hours worked within the pulp mill construction site, 88% were worked by Uruguayans

According to figures from UPM, more than 10 million hours have been worked on the new project of the company’s second pulp mill, including the specialized terminal in the port of Montevideo, the pulp mill and external works in the central region from the country.

The UMP Paso de los Toros project has a higher participation of Uruguayan companies and less participation of foreign workers compared to other large-contribution projects. It is stated that of the hours worked within the pulp mill construction site, 88% were worked by Uruguayans.

Santiago Alberti, project manager, pointed out that “currently more than 5000 people work at the plant’s site and that the maximum peak of 6000 will be reached in the last quarter of 2021. Today there are more than 300 Uruguayans who lend direct services within the site, a figure that has evolved since the installation of the company’s first plant in Fray Bentos. 75% of these companies have less than ten employees.”

Alberti adds that “the progress and growth achieved by Uruguayan companies, as a result of a positive process of accumulation and incorporation of knowledge in the country, favored a result like the current one, in which more Uruguayan companies agree to contracts in advanced phases of the project, that previously they did not accede. For example, different Uruguayan companies that have already agreed to contracts with UPM for the stage of mechanical, electrical and instrumentation assembly of UPM Paso de los Toros.”

In this regard, Gonzalo Giambruno, project director, said that “in line with the commitments assumed in the conception of this project, UPM designed the tenders in such a way and scale that it would make it possible for more Uruguayan companies to compete for the contracts, integrate and develop in the stages of construction, assembly and start-up, and operation and maintenance of the pulp mill.”

This pulp mill is the most modern in the Americas and required exhaustive planning regarding the working conditions of the employees. “UPM has done this by developing and executing specific plans that guarantee the best conditions in terms of health and safety, as well as services, for example, accommodation, transportation, and food.”

On the other hand, Gerardo Galimberti, director of occupational health and safety, stated that “the accident rates of the work are exceeded compared to previous projects and are at the level of the best Finnish projects. With 10 million hours worked, the result of lost time accident frequency is in the order of six, which shows a strong commitment of all workers and companies to the project’s safety standards. In terms of health, the pandemic has challenged us in the traditional way of doing things, but we have known how to prepare and overcome difficulties in a satisfactory way, maintaining the objectives and goals of our original planning.”


Berkes, a 100% Uruguayan company, Diego Aramendía the CEO, gave his testimony about the UPM project in Pueblo Centenario.

“In this period of the last 20 years there is more growth towards growth, we have become very professional. The company’s performance in the country has grown a lot, with both public and private projects. UPM is the largest private project in the country, and there we are. We have also strengthened ourselves with projects abroad. The UPM Fray Bentos project in 2005 was a turning point in the company.”

Rafael Vendrasco spoke from Berkes about the relationship between that construction on the banks of the Uruguay River until today, on the shores of the Río Negro, noting that today 26 contracts have been signed with the client UPM.

“Today the chimney is 127 meters high, along with electrical installations and metal structures. That first project allowed us to work at UPM Paso de los Toros, with an increasing amount of work, areas and specialties that we accessed. The fact that UPM has divided into specialties and sizes with contracts accessible to local companies greatly enhanced the participation of Uruguayan companies because there is no one here that has the technology to offer 100%. Today there is a very good learning process that the Uruguayan companies that are targeting these projects have been involved in, which has been developing from Fray Bentos to Durazno,” said Berkes.

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