Containerboard Supply and Demand Growth

Though most of the stories making headlines throughout this year have been about decreases in supply or dismal news, the industry is finally starting to see a turnaround with expected containerboard growth. Original presentations and predictions revealed growth through 2020, but the numbers are starting to look even better. Berg Mill reports on the numbers and what kind of growth the industry can expect.

Reports and Ruminations

RISI’s VP for global packaging Ken Waghorne revealed at RISI’s 33rd annual Forest Products Conference in San Francisco that corrugated box shipments and containerboard should expect positive changes throughout 2020. The presentation originally predicted “…that US box shipments would increase annually by a 2.7% average for 2018 through 2020.” The supply and demand for containerboard is still expected to remain steady through this date along with corrugated box shipments.

After Waghorne’s presentation, more data became available. RISI cites PPI Pulp & Paper Week research: “US containerboard capacity is expected to grow a total of 11.6% and by 4.45 million tons (excluding creep) over four years through 2021.” The numbers following the VP’s predictions continue to show positive increases.

Supply and Demand

With supply and demand expecting to increase for box shipments, it will still be a challenge to offer firm numbers on packaging growth, as e-commerce can become unpredictable during the holidays. Nevertheless, there is still an expected growth rate at 2.2% through August next year, according to RISI’s Vice President. Depending on the strength and actual demand present in the last quarter, the numbers could be different than predicted. Previous years demonstrated growth and Waghorne predicts the increase to continue, as it did so for the past 5 years on average. If these predictions prove true, then “…US actual box shipments would surpass 409 billion ft2 – an all-time high exceeding the 405.1 billion ft2 total in 1999.”

Forecasts and Predictions for China

Waghorne’s predictions also included “…a 30% increase in global containerboard imports, with a demand increase from China.” This increase is due to the country’s fiber shortage, which is a result of the rules and restrictions that have lowered US recovered paper exports to China this year. The VP offered his forecast for China, but it is not as bright as the supply and demand for containerboard. In fact, he thinks it means “…that Chinese mills will struggle to fiber their machines. Waghorne showed China's global imports of recovered paper plummeting from 25 million tonnes in 2017 to about 12 million this year and about 5 million in 2019.” The RCP and fiber shortages may continue to show decreases for China.

At Berg Mill, we will continue to work hard to overcome fluctuating commodity markets, opening markets in other countries for hard to move items such as these, forging strategic alliances, and improving domestic processing capabilities. We would like to help you move off any paper (now including #52 milk carton scrap; please contact us for current pricing), plastic, metal, and textile scrap. Berg Mill has the expertise and know-how to navigate through these troubled waters.

Berg Mill has a long history as one of the pioneers in the industry, and we are not going anywhere even when faced with these challenges. Every day we are making progress, as new homes start to become more and more real for your material whether it be paper, plastic, metal, textiles, etc. If you continue to handle large amounts of recycled waste and are looking for solutions to offload idle scrap, please contact our industry veterans at Berg Mill Supply.