The Corrugated Box & Carton Market 2011

Published: 26th May 2011
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After several raw material increases late in 2009, the cost of a cardboard box increased to what it was in 1995. Consequently after 16 years, the result was a zero movement in the price. Long term, corrugated paper producers cannot sustain continued loss & so the imbalance in supply & demand had to be redressed.
Eventually prices have had to inevitably move back to where the selling price is higher than the overall cost. This can transpire either through rationalisation where the larger companies merge together and remove extra capacity or because of companies simply failing. Examining the corrugated packaging industry in today’s market both of these are likely to occur & continue to occur throughout the year.
Following the rises in 2009, the UK sheet board & paper market was more or less balanced from a supply & demand perspective during late 2009 & then into 2010. However this changed soon after due to a tightening of supply of raw material which consistently pushed up the prices of finished corrugated boxes & cartons.
Now, mainly due to reduced amounts of waste coming from countries like Japan & higher demand from countries like Germany, the costs of paper & board making are escalating. Add to this the increasing global demand & the spiralling costs of oil, starch & timber & it all contributes to a much higher priced final product.
Consequently, paper & board manufacturers are now firmly in control & are simply pushing any increases further down the chain to the corrugated box & carton convertors. This will subsequently have to be picked up by the consumer further fuelling the inflation crisis.
In spite of these rises & the fact a corrugated box now costs on average 30% more than it did 12 months ago, corrugated paper & board still remains by far the most cost-effective type of packaging medium when compared to other alternatives.
Corrugated is light and easy to handle & there is huge potential in terms of packaging design. Corrugated boxes are the ideal containers for transporting goods through the courier system both domestically & abroad & the extensive range of grades ensures there is a solution for every application. With the right design a lot of waste & material can be saved. Corrugated is very easy to print on & a natural & 100% biodegradable material.
Despite further price increases predicted for 2011 & beyond, corrugated boxes & cartons still remain the packaging solution of choice for the majority of consumers & this is no doubt set to continue for the foreseeable future.

Mark Reid works for Postpack Ltd, an online manufacturer & distributor of packaging materials throughout the UK, Ireland & Europe. They provide free samples if required, offer free delivery for orders over £50 and operate a free bespoke design service.

Click here to buy your cardboard boxes, cartons & packaging materials from Postpack

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