The Future of North American Containerboard: A Strategic View

An insider's expert perspective and analysis of this fast-changing sector. Volume 1 covers the issues facing the entire industry; Volume 2 focuses on businesses that convert containerboard into packaging products.

Enhance your understanding of the market with The Future of North American Containerboard: A Strategic View.

New for Summer 2018 – Volume 2 information and pricing available here

Watch a detailed webinar presentation on Volume 2, from study author Sarilee Norton, here

Preview the webinar here:

The Future of North American Containerboard: A Strategic View provides:

  • A historical review of how the industry has evolved since the 1990s, with an evaluation of predictions made by the 2010 report and an overview of key drivers going forward.
  • The impact of industry consolidation, as market power has become concentrated among the four largest suppliers. Includes profiles of key players’ products, facilities, performance, and strategies.
  • An assessment of capacity and capabilities, with estimated basis weight ranges and other primary data by machine for North American companies.
  • A review of global basis weight trends, and whether North American trends will converge with those of other regions.
  • An examination of “mega-customers,” as guided by a representative survey of end users’ concerns and perceptions of the marketplace.
  • A summary and forecast of what’s next for the industry.

Volume 1 and Volume 2

This is a 2-part study. Volume 1 covers broadly defined topics including consolidation, current basis weight data, virgin versus recycled paper, current capabilities and apparent strategies, and the end-use perspective.

Volume 2 is an analysis of the converting side of the business, where changes in the manufacturing process chain, supplier ownership and alliances, innovative board combinations and customer requirements have altered the converting landscape more in the last five years than in the decades before 2010.


Table of Contents (Volume 1)

  • Conclusions and Predictions from 2010 Study: The Case for Lightweighting, and Technological Considerations.
  • It’s More Than a Trend in Europe: Why North America is Different, but Not that Different – the Change is Coming.
  • A Scenario for Change: Investment Trends, Small vs. Medium vs. Majors; with Profiles of Recent Investment Initiatives, including those of Cascades/Norampac; Packaging Corporation; Pratt Industries; Kruger; and others.
  • How Much and What Has Been the Impact? North American Capacity Shares, plus Expansion and Integration.
  • Tier One—The “Big Four”: International Paper; WestRock; Georgia-Pacific; Packaging Corporation of America.
  • Tier Two—The Middle Ground: KapStone; Pratt Industries; Cascades/Norampac.
  • Tier Three—The “Two Percenters”: Rand-Whitney/Schwarz; Atlantic/New Forest; Greif; Green Bay Packaging.
  • Making Bold Statements: Consolidation and Integration; Is Containerboard a Process Business? Putting a Value on a Mill Business; Supply vs. Demand; The Subject of Growth; Integration and Pricing.
  • Overview of North American Machines: Machine Suppliers and Types: Gap Formers versus Fourdriniers; The Top 10%, by Category; Highest Capacity in Tons; Fastest, Widest, Most Productive.
  • Where We are NOW: Linerboard, Statistics, Background, the Medium Fiber Mix and Recycled Trends.
  • The Industry’s Love/Hate Relationship with OCC: Domestic and Global usage of OCC, including Supply (the OCC recovery system) and Demand (new mills and conversions) Dynamics.
  • So Which is Better: Virgin or Recycled? Will There be Another Published Price for Containerboard Grades to Reflect Today’s Market?
  • Containerboard Basis Weights, the Statistics: Lightweighting versus Lightweights.
  • Medium—Lighter, Heavier, but Not the Same as it Was: What’s Holding Back Growth of Super-Lightweights, plus Consideration of Europe vs. North America and Why Average Box Basis Weights are Lighter.
  • Is it “the Economy, Stupid”? What Drives Box Demand? A Review: 2009-2013 and 2014-2016.
  • E-Commerce: The Shift from a One-box to Two-box model; Why it’s Good for the Box business; What Will Happen in 3-5 Years, plus Curbside Recycling.
  • Sustainability—What It Means for Basis Weights: Sustainability vs. Cost Survey, with Responses, Observations, Commentary, and Conclusions.
  • Appendices: Transaction Maps for Top Containerboard Companies in North America and Full Listing of Key Data for all North American Containerboard Machines.


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