Interesting things about the packaging industry, retailing dynamics, consumer trends and NOA’s insight.

Kraft Paper Shortage set to continue to hit packaging manufacturing worldwide for the foreseeable future

Oct 10, 2017 | Corrugated Packaging, Industry Associations & Partners, Packaging

The following headlines were taken from the UK SPA 94th Conference presentations (October 2017) from DS Smith Sheetfeeding, Smurfit Kappa UK, Paper Trading, Mayr-Melnhof Karton and NOA under the areas of UK Sheetfeeding & Paper and Macro View on Paper Supply Chain:


  • Since mid year 2017, the demand for unbleached kraft paper globally has overtaken supply. Demand is growing and growing.
  • N. American market growing at +2% per annum for the last 3 years. Kruger refurbished a Fine Graphics Paper Mill recently giving c.+1% increase in N. America capacity. But that is not enough to satisfy N. America market demand, let alone the rest of the world.
  • A “perfect storm” of increased global demand for corrugated papers


  • These are unprecedented times in terms of growth of the European paper packaging industry
  • You need a crystal ball to see what will happen in the European paper market !
  • New capacity is barely keeping up with demand and 2018 will remain difficult with no new kraft mills announced as far into the future as 2021.
  • European kraft liner demand forecasts were revised within 6 months, still 350k tons shortfall.
  • Paper availability is no longer a given ! Paper mills run 24/7. Once the mill is full, that is it, there is no more capacity !
  • Paper price inflation is happening and will continue to do so. Paper prices in Europe are still cheap compared to the rest of the world
  • As a result of the kraft paper shortage, there will be an increased substitution for recycled materials (RCCM).


  • UK Buyers have had 3+ price rises in corrugated over the last 12 months.
  • Brand owners and corrugated buyers now see Corrugated rises as a Strategic issue.
  • No end in sight, so buyers now asking “do we reduce our reliance on corrugated?”

Full presentations available to members of the SPA on the Sheet Plant Association website. Membership details available here: