Corrugated industry rides e-commerce demand to continued growth

(Photo courtesy Fibre Box Association)

By TOM KARST November 30, 2021

Corrugated box production reached a record level in the pandemic year 2020, and the outlook for continued moderate growth is still in place.

The corrugated box industry shipped 407 billion square feet of product in 2020, equivalent to about 39 billion boxes, said Rachel Kenyon, senior vice president of the Chicago-based Fibre Box Association. That output was the highest since 1999 and up 3.4% from 2019, she said.

After hitting record levels in the late 1990s, corrugated output dipped substantially in the recession year of 2009 to just 345 billion square feet. Since then, corrugated growth had been on a slow climb through 2019. The extra jolt in 2020 corrugated demand attributed to COVID-19 related e-commerce transactions was real, Kenyon said.

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