US containerboard production rolls along
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US containerboard production rolls along

AF&PA says mills operating at 90 percent capacity.

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June 19, 2020

The Washington-based American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) says containerboard production in May increased 1 percent compared with the May 2019 figure. Year to date, United States containerboard production has risen 6 percent compared with the same five months of 2019.

The organization says the containerboard mill and paper machine operating rate was 90.3 percent in May, essentially flat with the May 2019 rate. Year to date, mills have been operating at an average rate that is 4.4 points higher compared with the same period in 2019.

Containerboard exports from the U.S. rose 42 percent compared with May 2019 and have risen 41 percent year to date.

Boxboard production in the U.S. has seen similar gains in 2020, also seemingly shaking off major effects of the COVID-19-related economic downturn. In May 2020, boxboard production 2 percent compared with May 2019. though it is down by 1 percent year to date.

Recycled-content boxboard production increased by 4 percent compared with May 2019, according to AF&PA. It has been essentially flat year to date.

COVID-19 seems to have had a negative impact on the already declining printing and writing (P&W) paper sector. Shipments of P&W paper in the U.S. decreased 35 percent in May 2020 compared with May 2019.

Uncoated free sheet (UFS) or office paper shipments decreased 34 percent in May compared with May 2019, says AF&PA.