As we approach the end of 2021 and look to the holidays, the high demand for boxes is expected to continue as consumers turn to e-commerce for their shopping needs. As many of you in the industry know, linerboard has increased three times in the last 12 months. RISI Pulp and Paper domestic pricing for 42lb linerboard has increased a total of $160/ton over this time to a record high of $875/ton. As our main input expense, the increases in linerboard have required L&M and box suppliers across the country to implement price increases. If demand continues at this level, it is possible that there could be another linerboard increase yet this year.
The demand for boxes among buyers has made us look for ways to increase capacity and fight supply chain issues. However, a low inventory of linerboard coupled with a labor shortage continue to cause challenges.