According to the Fibre Box Association (FBA), which released its audit of corrugated shipment, inventory and consumption statistics on February 1, industry shipments of corrugated products increased an impressive 11.4 percent, from 31.332 bsf in December of 2019 to 34.916 bsf in December of 2020. Average-week shipments also increased 11.4 percent, from7.833 bsf in 2019 to 8.729 bsf in 2020. Shipments rose to 3.4 percent year-to-date over 2019’s rate.
Containerboard consumption increased 8.1 percent, from 2.5660 million tons in December of 2019 to 2.7727 million tons in December of 2020. Consumption increased 2.4 percent year-to-date over 2019, from 32.3005 million tons to 33.0739 million tons.
Containerboard inventory at corrugator plants increased 5.6 percent, from 1.7912 million tons in November 2020 to 1.8921 million tons in December 2020. Weeks of supply also increased, from 2.5 to 2.7, or 8.0 percent.
According to AF&PA statistics, U.S. capacity reached a new high of 3.62 million tons per month in December. “Recently, most of the capacity additions have been recycled containerboard, however, the additions to capacity between November and December have been primarily in the virgin containerboard sector,” noted Dick Storat in his Scoring Boxes newsletter. “Recycled containerboard now accounts for more than 35 percent of total U.S. containerboard capacity. This growth has occurred over the past 12 years, from a level of 24 percent at the start of 2009.”