Corrugated Packaging Material Prices Keep on Rising

With pulp prices rising and little sign of any let-up in the near future, we are seeing increases in the cost of corrugated packaging. Many corrugated carton manufacturers have tried hard not to pass on the recent price rises, but with the cost of paper continuing to rise, corrugated packaging costs are forecast to increase further in 2021. So, what has caused the increase?

Here in the UK uncertainty over Brexit, as well as a weak Pound, has been a factor and with the prospect of a no deal Brexit we are being warned the Pound could weaken further.

Globally, over the last 6 to 12 months there has been a substantial increase in e-commerce, brought about by Covid-19. This has put huge demands on Mills and Converters, which are running at maximum or close to maximum capacity. Demand is outstripping supply.

In order to help minimise such increases, users of cartons need to start reviewing how they package and protect their products. They need to work closely with their carton designers and manufacturers, with the aim of identifying possible cost reductions. Things to consider might include:

  • Look at labelling rather than printing the carton, especially if date codes and other identifiers are used. This might allow larger volumes to be purchased, leading to reduced freight costs and maximising economies of scale.
  • Investigate design changes that reduce the number of processes required to manufacture the the carton.
  • Is your supplier using modern, efficient processing equipment? Possibly not, because there’s been little incentive over recent years due to the low inflation rate. Work with your supplier to increase efficiencies wherever possible.
  • Depending on the required design criteria, could a higher amount of recycled material be used? Obviously, if heavy items are being shipped, virgin material might be necessary in order to provide the required impact strength. Drop tests will verify this.

Packaging is part and parcel of any outsourcing solution and here at ES&M our clients like us to consider it early on in the development process, not at the last minute as is often the case. However, with increasing costs it’s going to become more important than ever to get the packaging design and specification right.

Should you require any help or just want a pair of “fresh eyes” to review your design and specification, we are here to help. It may be a case of becoming even more creative and looking at different options to a standard carton or retail pack, as the case study in the golf trolley link here shows.