Industry shipments of corrugated products increased 1.9 percent, from 29.74 bsf in February of 2019 to 30.29 bsf in February of 2020, the Fibre Box Association (FBA) reported. Average week shipments also increased 1.9 percent, from 7.435 bsf in 2019 to 7.575 bsf in 2020. Shipments of corrugated products increased 1.9 percent year-to-date.
Containerboard consumption was 2.516 million tons in February of 2020, up from 2.459 million tons, or 2.3 percent, in February of 2019. Consumption increased 2.4 percent year-to-date over 2019. Containerboard inventory at corrugator plants decreased 2.0 percent, from 2.3456 million tons in January to 2.2978 million tons in February 2020. Weeks of supply remained at 3.7.
“There was little evidence that box shipments were affected by economic weakness growing from the Coronavirus, other than the possibility of heavier advance buying in anticipation of shortages for non-durable goods like preserved foods, household cleaning and sanitizing supplies and personal care products at the end of the month,” noted Dick Storat in his Scoring Boxes newsletter. “March and second quarter shipments are more likely to be affected by panic-buying and slowing consumption from the social distancing practices now underway.”