All posts by Jeff E

Why All The Shipping Issues

Below is an update from one of our Shipping partners, CHRobinson. They provide a monthly explanation on these crazy times we are seeing in shipping products. We wanted to pass this information along where we see this as very timely information.

Market Update

  • LA Ports Pier Pass
    • Starting AUG 1 TMF will be updated to $34.21 per TEU or $68.42 for all other container sizes
  • New TSA Screening Regulation
    • Nationwide challenges with getting freight packed in drums booked and moving due to uncertainty around new TSA Screening requirements
    • These shipments need to be dealt with on a case by case basis and will heavily depend on specific airline availability
    • More info to come over the next couple of weeks from Air Product
  • Vietnam
  • US Gateway Airport Space Challenges
    • Please refer to the attached from Rob Bonk regarding current airport/warehousing situation
    • As we continue to work through the challenges around screening, airline congestion, and delays please help share opportunities for us to quote dedicated trucks
    • Please continue to overcommunicate on any special requirements and/or customer expectations with us

GLOBAL FORWARDING INSIGHTS

[LINK] Stay up-to-date with market changes that impact air / ocean capacity at the trade lane level- everything you need to navigate global shipping.

N.A. SURFACE TRANS UPDATE

Driver Supply vs. Truck Demand 

Healthy contract rates can do wonders to improve tender acceptance on contract freight, but it does little to improve the overall situation for truckload supply. Capacity has been strained for more than a year as volatile demand trends, and challenges with truck and driver shortages have limited carriers’ ability to flex up as needed. The outlook for demand remains strong and should continue to stress carrier networks for the foreseeable future. 

As the summer peak season commences, Class 8 truck production and driver availability remain the biggest obstacles to a recovery in truckload supply. Until these issues are resolved, demand volatility will continue to result in highly unstable market conditions. 

The chart above illustrates the growing imbalance between demand and supply. Truck loadings are up 4%, and driver availability is down 3% year-over-year, illustrating how volumes have continued to grow while driver supply falls.  

The chart below shows FTR’s forecast for truck driver pressure peaking in Q2-2021 and remaining elevated through 2022. This supports the outlook that capacity constraints will drive unpredictable rate environments as demand ebbs and flows. Despite contract rate increases, we are still advising shippers to secure dedicated capacity on their consistent, high-volume lanes to ensure capacity is available in the coming year. 

Source: https://ftr.dev.imagescape.com/  

DAT Trends 

Transportation markets trends increased in the national LTR for the fourth straight week.  In comparing week 27 over the past six years for both Van and Reefer, 2021 LTR has increased WoW.  Van and Reefer LTR surpasses the 2018 levels and is the highest it’s been in the past six years during this same time period and growing. 

Dry Van 

·                  National Load-to-Truck ratio has increased WoW from 6.42 up to 6.71 WoW. 

·                  The Carolinas region is the tightest region at 11 to 1, up from 9 to 1 WoW. 

Reefer 

·                  National Load-to-Truck ratio has increased WoW from 14.21 last week up to 14.98 WoW. 

·                  Lower Midwest is the tightest region with over 24 to 1, down slightly from 25 to 1 WoW.  

Global airfreight updaTE

  • Driven primarily by capacity/equipment challenges on the ocean market
  • Market rates have increased as a result
  • Expect volatility in the coming months leading into the traditional peak season

EU update

  • Port congestion still continuing at UK and RTM ports, on average 2-3 days- causing vessel delays.
  • Blank sailings set to continue through this month as reported previously.
  • Still seeing VBS and general UK haulage issues as reported a few weeks back- set to continue through the summer.
  • Agreement finally reached on the Ever Given- set to sail from the Suez Canal area in the next few days- link to article below.
  • No major issues on Intra EU trucking- however some carriers are not wanting to cross from France to the UK through Calais due to the jungle and threat of immigrants trying to board trucks to cross into the UK- alternative crossings potentially being used- not affecting Transit time.

GLOBAL OCEAN

US-Asia trade

  • Carriers now have 98% of total global vessel capacity in service, due to continued strong demand. However due to significant port congestion, vessels are being seriously delayed on their voyages, waiting for berths at congested ports, and slower port handling due to staff shortages as a result of COVID-19 impacts. As a consequence, void sailings are occurring in the market simply because vessels are losing as much as 2-3 weeks in their schedules due to these delays. Carriers then need to realign their vessels and avoid vessel bunching as much as possible. It has been calculated that the current delays in vessel schedules are removing as much as 20-25% of the actual vessel capacity from the market.
  • Due to the shortage of equipment in Asia to meet TPEB demand, carriers are continuing to evacuate containers from the USA in large numbers, which is causing equipment shortages in the USA to meet export demand, particularly at IPI points and at Gulf ports. Shortages of RF containers including genset shortages are also very significant at USWC ports and at IPI points.
  • Carriers are limiting their acceptance of export bookings on the TPWB trade in order to prioritize repositioning of empties back to Asia.
  • Some carriers, such as YML and Maersk are pushing all US export IPI shipments to Asia through USEC ports in order to avoid USWC port congestion. Other carriers, such as ONE, are pushing IPI bookings to Asia through LALB in order to try and address the severe railcar imbalance currently experienced in LALB to meet import demand.
  • As a consequence of the above factors, available space for export bookings is extremely tight. It is important to plan bookings at least 5-6 weeks in advance in order to secure space and equipment.  It is also becoming necessary to pay rate premiums in order to move containers on short notice. We are starting to see a small improvement in export space availability to North Asia, but space to South Asia ports continues to be extremely challenging.
  • As a result of the space and equipment shortages, carriers have implemented GRI’s on the US-Asia trade for the month of July 2021. These GRI’s have been consistently applied on a monthly basis by carriers since Dec 2020.
  • The port of Yantian/Shenzhen China suspended export bookings from China for a 1 week period due to COVID 19 impacts and a shortage of labor. The shortage of labor and mounting port congestion  caused carriers to divert their vessels to other south China ports which spread the port congestion issues to the entire region. The port has re-opened but there is a severe backlog and port congestion remains severe. This will undoubtedly impact US exports into the South China region, as many carriers are currently bypassing Yantian port until the situation  improves and the congestion at other nearby ports has become very significant.

US-Europe trade

  • Void sailings and port omissions are growing on the USWC-Europe trade due to severe port congestion on the US west coast as well as in Europe.  This is leading to serious space shortages on the USWC-Europe all water services.  Generally speaking, carriers are fully booked on the all water services 4-5 weeks out.
  • THE Alliance have delayed plans to cancel their AL1 service until Q3 2021. Once this service is cancelled, vessels on other service loops will increase in size which will result in no change to the overall capacity available on the market. Nevertheless, the reconfiguring of these services is going to lead to schedule disruptions in June-July 2021. Some important changes to THE Alliance service as a result of this reshuffling are:
    • AL2 service is switching from London Gateway to Southampton
    • AL6 service is switching from La Spezia to Livorno
    • THE Alliance vessels will no longer offer export service from New Orleans and Jacksonville ports to Europe
  • Due to a strong Asia-Europe trade as well as the recent Suez Canal incident, ports in Europe have become even more congested with carrier vessels waiting an average of 4-5 days to berth at major ports. Ports in the UK are especially impacted, and as a consequence, carriers have imposed port congestion surcharges which are payable at destination UK port. Carriers are also omitting UK port calls more frequently in order to try to keep their schedule integrity.
  • The joint MPS service currently operated by Hapag/MSC/ZIM/Hamburg Sud between Canada/US west coast ports and Europe, have announced that they will be cancelling their port calls at Vancouver and Seattle by mid-July. This means the service will be reduced to Los Angeles and Oakland port calls only. In addition, Hamburg Sud are completely withdrawing from this service.

US-LATAM trade

We are now seeing the same situation in Callao with vessels waiting up to 10 days prior to berthing. CMA has announced a temporary stop booking to San Antonio Chile port due to the severe port congestion.

  • As a result of the port congestion issues causing sliding vessel schedules, capacity has become very tight in this market. The tight space is being further complicated by growing US export demand to LATAM from the auto and heavy machinery sectors. Another complicating factor is that many of the services from the USA to South America are transshipped and are connecting with vessel services on the Asia trade. Carriers are prioritizing vessel space to Asia over LATAM in these cases due to the urgency of getting equipment back to Asia.
  • ONE have announced that they are changing their MAREX service ex Los Angeles to Central America locations from weekly to fortnightly.
  • Due to the tightening of capacity, carriers have announced rate increases in July 2021 covering all South America and Central America ports.
  • The port of Buenaventura has re-opened which should help to ease growing congestion at the nearby ports of Cartagena and Barranquilla where cargo had been diverted during the port closure.
  • CMA have launched a new service Yuka Express from US Gulf coast ports to Honduras and Guatemala, including calls at Kingston and Cartagena. The first US export vessel departure is planned for June 26th.

US-Oceania trade

  •  The peak season continues on this trade and we are continuing to see significant space issues on the USEC to Oceania with the direct carriers. Service out of USWC ports continue to be very fully booked as well, largely due to severe port congestion issues both in the USA and at destination. Space out of both US coasts therefore continues to be completely full for 4-5 weeks out.\
  • CMA will be reverting to fortnightly calls on their PAD service from USEC to Oceania in mid-Sept which is going to further tighten capacity on this trade for Q4 2021.
  • As a consequence of the continuing tight space situation as well as the upcoming peak season for this trade,  carriers have announced GRI’s for both July and August that are expected to go through.
  • Direct carrier service from USWC ports to Australia will move to fortnightly calls at Oakland port for a 6 weeks period continuing into July in order to try and regain some schedule integrity.
  • The congestion situation at most Australia ports has improved recently, however last week some limited strike action resumed at Patrick terminals in Australia which could cause congestion issues to resurface in Melbourne and Sydney ports. Carriers are still waiting as much as 7-10 days at Auckland port before vessels are able to berth The carriers are therefore announcing a fortnightly service from USWC ports to Auckland, due to the persistent congestion at Auckland port and the need to get vessel schedules into better alignment. All the direct carriers continue to apply a port congestion surcharge at Auckland port.

US-India Subcontinent trade

  • The Suez Canal incident caused void sailings, vessel bunching, further destabilized vessel schedule integrity, and increased port congestion on the USEC.
  • India is very short of equipment and carriers are prioritizing moving empty containers over loaded ones, making space for loaded exports increasingly tight. In addition, carriers are choosing to prioritize sending empty containers to Asia over exports to ISC locations in order to feed equipment back to Asia.
  • Several carriers such as Zim, CMA and others are limiting booking acceptance to destinations in ISC where the port congestion is very severe, for example Bangladesh.
  • Due to the above factors/booking restrictions, space is very short to meet US export demand to ISC locations. It is very important to book 5-6 weeks in advance now on this trade.
  • Carriers are announcing GRI’s on this trade planned for July 2021.

Asia-Europe trade

  • The recent Suez Canal incident has increased vessel space shortages in Asia as so many vessels were delayed. Space is expected to be extremely critical on this trade over the next several months as we are now also heading into the traditional peak season period as Europe importers start placing their Christmas orders.
  • Rates are constantly increasing on this trade and pricing is at unprecedented high levels.
  • Container shortages in Asia are impacting this trade as much as it is impacting the TPEB trade. The container shortages are expected to become even more severe as a result of the Suez Canal incident.  
  • Congestion at Europe ports is increasing – the average vessel dwell times at anchorage outside Europe ports are currently 4-5 days.

EQUIPMENT SHORTAGES

  • Significant equipment shortages in Asia are leading carriers to reposition empty equipment rapidly from the USA back to Asia to meet TPEB demand. This is resulting in equipment shortages in the USA at IPI points in particular, and also at the port of Houston and New Orleans. Reefer equipment is also in very short supply with most carriers – particularly on the USWC and at rail ramps.
  • A bumper agri crop this year has also led to significant agri export volumes which is creating critical shortages of containers at major agri rail ramps such as Kansas City, Dallas, Minneapolis and Omaha. Strong demand for resin is also contributing to the equipment deficit issues in New Orleans and Houston ports.

PORT TERMINAL AND RAIL OPERATIONS

We are continuing to see significant congestion at Los Angeles/Long Beach ports, Oakland, Savannah and NY ports due to a variety of factors – the main ones being:

  • Continuing strong TPEB volumes flowing through the ports
  • Increased empty equipment inventories at major ports
  • Chassis shortages – in part due to warehouses not unloading import containers in a timely manner
  • Port labor and driver shortages due to COVID-19 impacts.
  • Deterioration of rail services across all US rail carriers. As the backlog of inbound traffic grows we have seen service failure on the westbound (export) side with increased origin dwell and units missing intended outbound trains and vessels. We are also seeing rail carriers limiting the number of containers they will allow to gate in per day for US export in order to avoid further complicating the existing congestion in the network.
  • We are also seeing congestion and rail delays for traffic moving through all Canada ports, however the Canada gateway is currently running more smoothly than US gateways.

Here are some specific impacts we are seeing currently on ocean export activity out of the USA:

  • Port congestion is causing serious delays to ocean vessels which are sitting at anchor for days waiting to berth. This in turn is leading to weeks where there are unintended void sailings, simply due to schedule delays. Vessel dates are sliding by as much as 1-2 weeks at USEC ports and as much as 2-3 weeks at USWC ports due to congestion issues.
  • Delays in the vessel schedules are leading to continual changes in vessel closing dates. This requires constant monitoring and may require changes to shipper loading schedules in order to avoid additional costs.
  • Shortage of truck capacity and chassis at some key rail ramp locations such as Chicago, as well as port locations such as Savannah, Charleston and Norfolk, are seriously disrupting the timely movement of US exports.
  • Congestion at rail terminals due to import container volumes is leading rail carriers to limit the number of export containers they will accept per day.
  • Ocean carriers having regular port omissions to catch up vessel schedules is often resulting in direct services becoming indirect while cargo is en route – adding weeks to the expected transit time.

PET Film for Medical Grade Face Shields

PET film is a versatile material. It offers you dimensional stability along with tensile strength and transparency that can withstand the harshest demands. Because of its exceptional mechanical properties, it is an ideal material for a wide variety of uses and applications. From food packaging to plastic for laminating purposes, PET film offers you a performance advantage over other plastic materials.

With the emergence of the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), PET film has also become a popular specialty film material for face shields. Medical grade face shields used as PPE provide additional protection against pathogens. They can be used alone or in tandem with other PPE such as using a face shield over a surgical mask.

PET Film Sizes for PPE Face Shields

7 mil and 10 mil are typically the sizes used for hospital grade protective face shields. By comparison, the average Coke bottle is 12 mil in thickness. PET film used for face shields is approximately double the thickness of a soda bottle. Due to the nature of medical uses for PET film face shields, hospital grade face shields are optically clear.

Metric Equivalents and Thickness

Note that “mil” does not mean “mm.”

  • 7 mil is roughly 0.007 of an inch or 0.21 mm. thick.
  • 10 mil is roughly 0.10 of an inch or 0.25 mm. thick.

Commercial Uses for PET Film

While our focus has shifted to PET film for face shields, PET film offers additional benefits that should be carefully considered when choosing a specialty film for your application needs. 

PET Film Grades and Clarity Options

Besides offering optically clear PET film for face shields, PET film can also be available in the following film grades:

Biaxially Oriented
Bubble Extruded
Super-smooth
Heat-sealable  
High Clarity
Low Gloss
Low-haze matte
Metalized  

Clarity options for PET film include clear, white, hazy, and natural. 

Responding to the Needs of our Customers

Pet film offers you a high-performance thermoplastic for rigorous applications. Throughout our company’s history, we have been fortunate to partner with some amazing suppliers. Due to the extensive working relationships with our resin suppliers, we are focusing our PET film for hospital grade face shields.

We understand how important PPE is for our first responders and front-line medical personnel. Our commitment to our customers has not changed. We remain steadfast in providing you with the best PET film and look forward to working with you for whatever PET film challenges you may have. 

WHY CHOOSE CORRUGATED MATERIAL

THE MADE IN AMERICA Choice:
There are over 1,166 corrugated manufacturing facilities with approximately 100,000 employees in nearly 1,000 cities and towns throughout the U.S.

THE EYE-CATCHING Choice:
Corrugated packaging sells your product.
High-impact graphics drive brand awareness and product preference to help close the sale.

THE CLEAN Choice:
9 studies have found single-use corrugated tests clean and multi-use
RPC’s pose potential safety issues.

THE OPTIMAL Choice:
Corrugated combines structural rigidity with superior cushioning qualities
for optimal product protection, so even heavy or fragile contents arrive undamaged.

THE SUSTAINABLE Choice:
Corrugated cardboard is renewably-sourced and 93 percent is recovered
and recycled to make new products.

THE ECONOMICAL Choice:
Corrugated packaging is lightweight, lowering shipping costs with less
Trucks, less fuel and less emissions.

Choose Corrugated
The NATURAL Choice
www.corrugated.org

Cannabis Packaging – From A Supplier’s Perspective

There is abundance of packaging suppliers that are getting into the Cannabis space. Here is quick perspective and what to prepare for taken from the May/June 2018 “ Healthcare Packaging “ magazine.  This is a perspective taken from those who supply packaging material.

Child Resistance and Blisters: With any marijuana product, child-resistance is an important piece of the puzzle. Flexible packaging and Blisters will play an important role. Plastic “exit pouches” are required at the point of purchase in some states’ cannabis dispensaries, and these must include a certified, child-resistant feature.
“On the marketing side, most cannabis manufactures are not blister packing yet. It’s a way to set your product apart from the typical bottled soft gels and capsules,” says Wes Mancoff, President of Thomas Packaging.
Nancy Warner, CEO of Assurpack, states, a pharma packaging industry veteran who supplies only child-resistant packaging, notes “People are starting to use primary blisters. The industry ti trying to be legitimate. They should take the highest level of precaution, so I always tell people you have to use F1 because you don’t know otherwise, and how can you support anything less than that?”
And what about sustainability? Most people want recyclable materials, but this can be difficult to balance with the need for child-resistance. Additionally, many cannot afford these options.

Products: While flower is still common, the sheer number of delivery methods is staggering; edibles and infused products are rising in popularity. “A lot of medical patients don’t want to smoke the flower either for health reasons or they are limited in where can smoke,”, says Mancoff. “Capsules and soft gels with extracted THC and/or cannabidiol (CBD) are an easy delivery method that can be consumed discreetly.”
Aside from patient preference, laws in some states may help the edible market become as large, or larger, than that of flower. “Some states-like Pennsylvania at the moment – are passing medical marijuana laws that only allow concentrates and edibles, as supposed to flower,” says Chris Trabbold, Field Service Manager at All-Fill Inc., which supplies cannabis companies like Kiva Confections with packaging machinery.

Automation: Not all, but many edible are still produced in kitchens, not factories. “Most packaging is still semi-automatic with the edible world. But for flower, oils, cartridges and tinctures, people are using more large scale filling machines,” says Werner. “They’re not purchasing a bottle line that goes 300 per minute, but more like 50 per minute. Eventually there will be a lot more equipment demands.” Warner says she works a lot with preformed blisters, foil, cards and simple heat-sealing machines.
“Because it’s still federal illegal, you can’t ship across state lines. One thing we’re seeing is companies planning to open facilities in every state where cannabis is legal, “ says Mancoff. Some producers have even considered purchasing equipment and driving it across state lines to their different facilities because production requirements are small enough.

Future Planning: Where at Cheever we supply several different packaging manufacturers with various films and paper, we get to see firsthand some of the requests or questions they are facing first hand. If you are thinking of expanding your packaging, please gives a shout to pick our brain, we would love to hear on your project.

Jeff Ell
Vice President of Sales
jeff.e@cheeverspecialty.com

Why The Specialty Paper Price Increase

Is it just me, or did everyone stick their head out their corporate window around the end of last year and yell “Price increase 3%-5%!!!”. If you are reading this post, than you are all to familiar with getting these emails from your suppliers. We put together over the last several months exactly what we have seen and heard from our suppliers and customers and here is our state of things below.

 

The main drivers we have seen that attributed to this increase are the following:

Truck Driver Shortage:

  • This has been an issue for several years with some estimates putting that number at 100,000 for 2017 (www.truckinginfo.com/channel/drivers/news/story/2016/12/state-of-trucking-for-2017.aspx )
  • During periods of strong demand this creates a large imbalance driving up prices
  • The current load to truck ratio is 7.2 to 1 ( on average for every 1 truck available there are 7 loads that company or driver can select from)The current average cost per mile paid to trucks is $2.10 the highest in over 3 years
    ELD Data Log Mandate ( begins 12/18
  • Transit times will be extended as trucks will now only be able to legally run 450-500 miles per day on average.
  • One day transits become two days, two day transits become three days and so forth.
  • Reduced Capacity ( even more ) fewer miles being run by some carriers and other carriers will leave market all together because they can’t or won’t comply
  • Dynamic Rates – Examples above will drive prices up even further for 201

In short , carriers and trucks are King right now. Those that can capture capacity are paying for it. That is why you’ve seen a significant increase in rates and why we believe they will only continue to rise in 2018.

Natural Disasters:

  • Three Hurricanes devastated Houston, Southern Florida and Puerto Rico, Creating massive demand for inbound trucks and supplies at any price.
  • This pulls from an already depleted pool of available capacity and creates an additional imbalance in the national trucking network.
  • Increasing rates considerably to haul products into areas affected by the Hurricane and shifting normal traffic flows.
  • Oregon and California Forest Fires causing road closures and additional network disruption tightening an already seasonal shortage in the Pacific Northwest.

NBSK Pulp:

  • This is main pulp used for specialty base paper. This past December this wat $1,185/ton. April pricing is $1,280/ton. (RISI Published pricing for NBSK). After speaking with several mill reps and buyers, they are not seeing a quick end to these increases.
  • The mills have quite a few levers they can use to raise pricing, these levers are the ones mentioned above.
  • The demand for pulp and the Amazon effect is real. When you go out to get that package today on your stoop from Amazon, take note that it is almost always in a box. The MF (machine finished ) and MG (machine glazed) grades are extremely in demand for making corrugated boxing.
  • Several mills we deal with, are not taking orders due to their paper machine assets are booked solid – great problem to have if you are mill, not so good for the rest of us. Right now we have customers calling to see if we can offer lower pricing, only to find out, everyone they have spoke to, has also raised prices. With this we have seen customers asking to review their current material and see if their is an alternative, like using a film for their release liner. In some cases their can be some savings.

If you would like to chat further on the state of things or have us review your offerings please send me an email, would love to here from you.

6 Packaging Trends for 2018

CMO Pam Webber from 99desings has provided what she is seeing as the Big Six design trends in packaging. If you have not heard of 99designs, super cool site where this is an online graphic design marketplace that connects freelance designers with business seeking everything from package design to logos. (We used them to create our current logo that you see on our Cheever website today)
We figured with the amount of requests they do in this space for packaging, hearing what Pam had to say is some good tribal knowledge – so here we go.

  1. Simplicity. Using less language will keep you in sync with our fast-paced society. People race up and down the food isles so keeping things simple is a way to get noticed. Keeping things simple plays an important role in helping us access our intuitive side
  2. Pastels. Pastels feel like a natural reaction to the hyper-stimulation and explosive colors we’ve been experiencing. They speak to our softer side and give products a candid and warm aura, which is translated into a pleasant and welcoming message for the potential customer. This translates in feminine, calming package designs that are starting to see a resurgence.
  3. Doodles. Go figure that when Doodles are see on a package, doodles can turn a product into a fun universe that was born from someone’s imagination and shared with the world. Everyone loves Doodles from 3 to 90 year olds.  It is this “raw” un-edit, let-your-guard” down approach that shows the consumer – “hey I’m just like you”
  4. Standout Shapes and Material’s. When needing to build a brand or re-brand, having this “extreme packaging” showcases the thoughtfulness and ingenuity your product brings to the market.
  5. Vintage. Going with an old school design demonstrates and give the feel that you have a dedication to a certain level of quality, and it tells a story of tradition, respect and passion. These are elements that remain alive-from a design standpoint-through organized structure, dense details and strong, lasting identity. People love to see early turn of century workers “making” things with their hands or showing the hard work it took back then to make something great. It is also shows the passion the workers have for their product and company that really bleeds through to your audience. Think Chevy commercial “Like a Rock” and several others.
  6. Vibrant Gradients. The use of gradients seems to be making a comeback. We are seeing more and more colorful gradients, adding depth, and form to package design.

What Is Disrupting the Specialty Paper Market

In the next 5 years, these four technologies are set to increase capacity and enable new product opportunities for the makers of specialty papers.

According to the new Smither Pira market report – The future of Specialty Papers to 2022, steady growth will continue through the end of the decade at 2.2% per year to push this to 26.98 million tons in 2022.  The technologies that will contribute to this are the following: Foam Forming, Precision Control on Large Format Machines, Industry 4.0 and Stretchability.

Foam Forming

Foam forming is a papermaking process that can produce nonwoven-type materials on paper machines with excellent formation uniformity, porosity and bulk.

Foam forming is a multi-phase fluid system structured by the presence of gas bubbles separated by thin liquid films.  The bubbles impart increased sheet bulk and porosity to the paper.

New systems employing foam forming are now entering commercial production due to a series of recent technical refinements.  A key focus is maintaining sheet strength while not compromising the enhanced paper bulk.  The process of employing cellulose nanofibrils (CNF) is reporting a 16-19% improvement in tensile strength.

Paptic’s extensible paper bag stock which offers a more environmentally friendly substitute for plastic is the first product to come from the foam forming development.

Precision in Papermaking

What we are seeing is state-of-the-art precision technology being developed for the commodity grades what will steadily find a wider use on specialty machines.   Some of the key benefits from this are, reduced product variation, which in turn results in tighter specifications with less waste from changeovers, rejected lots or over-designed products that use excess fiber to cover poor variability and reproducibility.

The biggest impact we will see is the implementation of precision technology on faster and wider papermaking machines allowing them to compete in the specialty spaces that have always relied on slower, labor intensive papermaking.

Industry 4.0

This ability to gain data and information on various pieces of equipment and then sharing this data so it makes sense to other components is what the industry is calling Industry 4.0.  Computers have been used in the paper making process since the 60’s.  What is happening today is, the quality system and the technical process are all talking to the supply chain and letting them know when to order material, or spot a trend with something happening on the paper machine.

New on-line sensors or “eyes” have increase drastically in the last 5 years.  The key benefit is first they are able to be programmed to detect an abnormality, but the real win is this data can be saved and graphed to show trends.

An example of this trend is the evolution of headboxes with the online CD basis-weight profiling.  The headbox slice is kept as straight as possible, but the excess weight is a small area is corrected by injecting water in narrow segments to displace just the excess fibre.

Stretchable Papers

Imagine a paper that can achieve a base sheet with a 20% stretchability in the machine direction and 16% in the cross direction.  Initially developed in Europe by Gruppo di X, and beta tested with Innventia in Sweden, the capacity to develop stretchable papers is now a commercial reality via a licensing deal with BillerudKorsnas in Europe.

End products include tray-format packaging and pharmaceutical blisters for stiffness and advertising, paper cups and other liquid containers as well as decorative foils for furniture.  This stretchable paper is intended to replace plastics with natural paper webs.

As we can see from these four examples, the creating and using of data is starting to play a larger roll in the paper industry.   This will help us to bring products to market faster and save costs.  Where logistics is such a big part of Cheever, we have already seen our warehouse software go through updates forced on them by customers looking to see their data in different ways.  We are now able to provide this data in a daily email showing the customer their inventory on our floor.

If you would like to chat on some of your paper needs or bounce and idea off one of our team members, please contact us here – we would love to here from you..

US Box Shipments Outpaced GDP – Why This Is Big News

2016 was a big milestone in the production and manufacturing of container-board and corrugated boxes.  According to Vertical Research Partners, corrugated box shipments in the US expanded by 2.1% on an annual basis, to 376 billion square feet, surpassing the country’s GDP growth of 1.6%.

This is big news when you look at the trend over the past years.  From 1984 until 2016 box shipments grew by just 1.1% per year, when the US GDP for the same period averaged 2.6%.  Ok great, so everyone would lump this together in the paper space and say, with paper usage falling behind over the past years, and plastic film has taken over in packaging, it would make sense box capacity has slipped.

But just hold on their folks, that is why this milestone is big news.  And now the Ahh Haaa Moment – wait for it, wait for it —– Amazon!!.   When was the last time on your front stoop was a plastic box of your Amazon goods – let me answer – never.  That’s write – corrugated box.  And I know you are saying, there is just no way, that with the takeoff of Amazon it signal handily increased this number past the GDP.

Well it is not 100% Amazon, but they are the main factor.  The other driver is eCommerce is common place today, everything is shipped in a box.  So is this just a blip or are we in a trend?  Data so far this year points to a trend.  US box shipments are up 2.8% year-on-year from January until July.

The other key point to watch here if you are an Investor, maker or supplier is pricing of the material.   In the past quarter-century, the global corrugated box industry has doubled and right along with this has been the need for OCC – old corrugated containers.

So just follow me for a second here.  80% of global containerboard capacity is predicated on the use of recycled fiber.  Meaning rarely is virgin soft wood used to make corrugated boxes.  Here is the interesting part.  With the recycling of corrugated boxes, the fibers break down so they are not as strong, so it is not like we have this endless supply.  After a couple of cycles, the material is no longer able to be used.

What we are seeing now is we are starting to use all of the recycled corrugated box material in the market, and we are starting to see virgin Kraft being used to fill the void.  The concern here is the regions with this attractive softwood trees for containerboard production are limited.  As a result, global corrugated box prices could rise a bit faster than inflation.

We at Cheever have seen these requests from new and existing customers asking for different coatings, colors and textures.  Definitely an exciting time to actual be in a growth mode when we are talking in the paper space –  this time around we are ok being “boxed” in..

Steady Growth Forecast for Global Specialty Paper Market During 2017 to 2027

The global speciality paper market is estimated to be valued at nearly US$ 31 Bn in 2017 and is projected to reach approximately US$ 54 Bn by the end of 2027.  Based on end-users, packaging & labelling industry is expected to remain dominant.

“Sales of specialty paper will reach nearly 25000 thousand tons in 2017, and this number is further estimated to exceed 40,000 thousand tons by 2027-end, according to a report by Future Market Insights (FMI).

FMI’s report projects the global specialty paper market to register a steady 5.2% volume CAGR during the forecast period 2017 to 2027. The market is estimated to exhibit an absolute $ opportunity of US$ 21.59 billion during the forecast period.”

Learn more about the major drivers in this article from PaperAge.

First Modern Ag Residue Paper Plant in NA Under Construction

Making Paper out of Wheat Straw – the first modern paper mill is officially under construction in the sate of Washington to make this happen.

“On September 27 FeedStock (Chicago, Ill., USA) reported that for the past 15 years, environmental not-for-profit Canopy (Vancouver, Canada) has been advocating making paper from commercial agricultural residue a reality. Columbia Pulp, the first modern mill of its kind, is now slated to make pulp for paper and packaging out of wheat straw; it is now officially under construction in the state of Washington.

By securing the support of large consumer corporations and creating focused demand, Canopy claims it has helped position straw papers and packaging as a strong alternative to products made with virgin tree fiber. Through Canopy’s Second Harvest initiative, corporations such as Staples, EarthColor and more than 100 fashion brands have expressed clear interest in buying agricultural residue paper, packaging and/or textiles as they become available.”

Read more about it in this article from Naylor Network