A World of Change…

By Joan Mantini

Although the world as we know it has been rapidly changing these last few weeks (longer for some), and we are faced with more unknows and uncertainties than ever before, in Michigan, one thing remains constant… the toilet paper shortage!

As an unforeseen factor in the 2020 industry growth prospects, the outbreak of coronavirus/COVID-19 has indeed impacted the paper packaging industry (along with many others) in terms of reduced inventory and supply of paper board, logistics interruptions, a dwindling workforce, and safe to say we should expect that the price of containerboard and corrugated boxes will rise correspondingly.

Meanwhile, the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on paper mills of different sizes is varied as of now. Small and medium-sized paper mills and converters may be hit harder by the pandemic and may find greater pressure from the rising costs and finances.

So, how can we expect to see some potential opportunities emerging for paper packaging in the future? Here are two positive things we are currently seeing for the paper packaging industry:

  1. A rise in corrugated boxes: Due to the impact of the outbreak, consumers are avoiding going out, shifting offline demand for food, beverages and medical supplies (along with others) to online. This change in consumer purchasing behavior is indeed increasing the volume of eCommerce deliveries, which can also increase the use of corrugated boxes for transport. It is anticipated that new consumer shopping habits will further promote the eCommerce platform moving forward.
  2. Folding cartons gain momentum: At this time, we are seeing global restrictions to food service operators, some are closing their doors completely while others are looking to alternative ways to service their customers such as carry-out and delivery options. The use of paper disposables is likely to gain traction due to this temporary trend which, in turn, also drives additional utilization of folding cartons. And although this trend may be temporary, it will still be impactful.

As 2020 continues to challenge our world, let’s take some time to focus on and celebrate our industry and how it has adjusted throughout history to get to where it is today. In the April issue of PPFC, check out our highlighted companies in the cover article “Companies to Watch” that are worth keeping on your radar in 2020 and beyond.

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