Containerboard and boxboard production in the United States in 2021 continues to outpace last year’s performance, according to the Washington-based American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA).
Total containerboard production in the U.S. in the third quarter increased 9 percent compared with the same three months of last year. Output is up 7 percent year to date, says AF&PA.
The containerboard mill operating rate averaged 95.6 percent in the third quarter of this year, up 1.7 points from the third quarter of 2020. The year-to-date average operating rate is up 1.5 points in 2021 compared with last year.
Overseas demand for U.S.-made containerboard enjoyed a bump, with AF&PA reporting that in this year’s third-quarter exports of containerboard increased 10 percent compared to the same quarter last year. Year-to-date, however, containerboard exports are down 15 percent compared with 2020.
Production figures for boxboard also are showing an increase, although recycled-content boxboard production lags the gains enjoyed by boxboard made with other materials.
Recycled-content boxboard production in the third quarter increased 1 percent compared with last year’s third quarter, while year to date it is down 1 percent.
Solid bleached boxboard production in the third quarter, meanwhile, increased by 10 percent compared with last year’s third quarter. It is up 1 percent year to date. Unbleached kraft and gypsum board production this year’s third quarter increased 5 percent compared with last year and is up 5 percent year to date.