Downtime, closures prompted by low demand for packaging grades

Several paper companies reported mill closures or significant downtime in the first quarter of the year as lower demand for packaging reflects in financial results.

In April, ND Paper, the U.S. division of Chinese containerboard producer Nine Dragons Paper (Holdings) Ltd., said it was reevaluating operations at two locations, including its kraft pulp mill in Old Towne, Maine, that produces 73,000 tons of recycled market pulp per year using mostly old corrugated containers (OCC) as primary feedstock—and that was just the first of the moves announced this spring.

Packaging Corp. of America (PCA), International Paper (IP), WestRock Co. and Graphic Packaging International all followed suit with announcements varying from site closures to extended downtime.

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