Containerboard capacity up 1.9 percent last year

U.S. containerboard production capacity was up 1.9 percent last year over 2017, to a record 39.7 million tons, according to the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA). AF&PA, releasing its 59th Annual Survey of Paper, Paperboard, and Pulp Capacity, said overall paper and paperboard capacity last year declined 1.1 percent compared to 2017.

Containerboard accounted for 47.6 percent of U.S. paper and paperboard capacity in 2018, up from 38.3 percent in 2008.

Between 2018 and 2021, about 4 million tons of additional containerboard capacity is planned, based on announcements from producers.

Tissue paper capacity rose 1.3 percent in 2018 to 8.8 million tons. Over the 2009-2018 10-year period, tissue capacity rose 7 percent. In 2018, a new tissue paper mill was opened with two machines and a new tissue machine was started at an existing mill.

Reflecting digital competition, capacity for newsprint and printing-writing papers continued to decline in 2018. Several machines producing these grades were permanently closed or converted to the production of other grades last year.

The report includes U.S. industry capacity data for 2018 and 2019 for all major grades of paper, paperboard and pulp, as well as fiber consumption, based on a comprehensive survey of all U.S. pulp and paper mills. Survey data includes responses from companies representing 87 percent of U.S. paper and paperboard industry capacity, with estimates completing the data set.

The survey with detailed tables is available for $2,250. To purchase, contact Kory Bockman at statistics_publications@afandpa.org.

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