Box makers tout vital role in epidemic
Associations in North America and Europe are emphasizing the critical role of paperboard packaging during the COVID-19 epidemic.
Fibre Box Association

Box makers tout vital role in epidemic

Associations in the U.S. and Europe urge box and containerboard supply chains to keep moving.

March 20, 2020

The Itasca, Illinois-based Fibre Box Association and the Brussels-based International Confederation of Paper and Board Converters in Europe (CITPA) both have issued statements addressing the need for their industry sector to keep functioning.

The Fibre Box Association says that in North America, “Manufacturers of corrugated cardboard boxes are working to keep transport packaging flowing to makers of essential products, including packaging for food and other consumer products, medical and pharmaceutical products, tissue and hygiene products and more amid the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Dennis Colley, president and CEO of the Fibre Box Association, says, “Corrugated cardboard packaging is the backbone of the American supply chain. As COVID-19 changes our daily lives, we want to assure consumers that the box industry is continuing to operate and to deliver needed packaging to our customers who supply grocery stores, pharmacies, doctor’s offices and hospitals with food and medical supplies to keep us all healthy and safe.”

The association says it has joined with the Washington-based American Forest & Paper Association “in encouraging federal, state and local governments to recognize the corrugated packaging industry as ‘essential’ when drafting ‘shelter in place’ orders. We ask for clear exclusion of our manufacturing operations to limit disruptions to the supply chain.”

Adds the group, “Disruption in the availability of these goods would cause significant hardships to consumers across the country who depend on steady and stable supplies.”

In Europe, CITPA says cross-border restrictions should be avoided in the case of paper and board packaging and the raw materials used to produce them. The organization says its paper and board  converter members “call on the European Commission and member states’ governments to ensure continued cross-border and intercountry transport of raw materials, goods and packaging.”

“The industry urges governments to keep the borders open and to allow continued transport of raw materials and packaging which are vital for the medical and food sectors,” says CITPA Secretary General Angelika Christ.

Christ says member states are starting to develop lists of key or critical sectors, and CITPA is calling on them and the European Commission to ensure that paper and board packaging manufacturing and related value chain activities are recognized as such. It is a critical sector and should be included in the ‘green corridors’ for the free-flowing transport of raw materials and goods, says CITPA.