FBA Blog

FBA – 2021 Mid-Year Review

FBA – 2021 Mid-Year Review

Let me begin by congratulating the corrugated industry for stepping up to the challenges of 2020 and shipping more corrugated boxes than ever reported in Fibre Box Association’s (FBA) history.  With a previous record of 405 billion square feet (BSF) in 1999, the industry shipped 407 BSF in 2020, aided by a robust surge in e-commerce.  Corrugated boxes are an essential part of the U.S. supply chain and the industry did its part in getting America back to pre-covid conditions.

As we transitioned into 2021, manufacturing has been burdened with labor, adhesive, and pallet shortages.  Production is being hampered in most areas of the country and backlogs for durable products like autos, furniture and appliances are increasing.  According to Dick Storat’s

Economics Trends and Outlook Report

, the market segments that provide demand for corrugated boxes are expected to grow by 3.6 percent in 2021 and 2.3 percent in 2022.  Based upon continued covid-relief funds being distributed to middle-Americans to boost the economy, this number could possibly be understated.

January is typically a busy month for the FBA data services department and this year was no different. Data requests went out for a variety of benchmarking reports and data to populate the

Corrugated Industry Annual Report

. The Technical, Safety & Health, and Environmental committees continued to meet virtually every six weeks instead of twice a year in person. The more regular meeting schedule allows each of the committees to stay better connected to each other and to their project slate.

In February, FBA introduced members to the new

Box Segment Demand Indicators Report

which provides member companies with macroeconomic and market segment data summarized and illustrated in graphs with accompanying bullet point information. Data is sourced from the latest government resources and compiled to keep you informed about the drivers of demand for box shipments between quarterly statistical reports. FBA held its first quarter webinar on the

Economic Trends and Outlook for Corrugated Products Report

and published the

2020 FBA Advertising and Social Media Impact Report

detailing a successful year 4 of the Corrugated Industry Promotion Program.

In March, FBA formed a new Cybersecurity Committee. Chaired by Greif’s Tim Bergwall, the purpose of the committee is to share up-to-date technology and information available to help protect corrugated industry companies against cybersecurity attacks. The committee held its first meeting on April 14th and began work on a framework to define focus areas and activities of the committee. FBA also informed the industry about OSHA’s Covid-19 National Emphasis Program and rolled out registration for the Virtual Annual Meeting.  Dennis and Rachel had a virtual meeting with members of Kroger’s supply chain team.

The decision was made in April to cancel FBA’s 81


in-person Annual Meeting and instead plan for a virtual event. FBA partnered with social media influencers to expand messaging on recycling boxes for Earth Day and the association published the Occupational Injuries and Illnesses Report.

The FBA Board of Directors held its spring meeting and elected new board members and officers. Bob Landaal, President of Landaal Packaging Systems became the association’s 2021-2022 chairman. Additional officer elections include first vice chairman Doug Bosnik, Buckeye Corrugated Inc.; second vice chairman Bryan Hollenbach, Green Bay Packaging; immediate past chairman Cathy Foley, Pratt Industries; and staff president & CEO Dennis Colley along with senior vice president Rachel Kenyon.

In May, FBA held its first virtual Annual Meeting.  Dennis Colley gave

an association update

and FBA distributed the

2020-2021 Membership Report

to all members.  FBA and AICC – The Independent Packaging Association recognized 416 corrugator plants for safety achievements in 2020.  The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) reported the 2020 corrugated recycling rate at 88.8 percent, a slight decline from the 2019 rate of 92.1 percent. However, the average three-year recycling rate from 2018 to 2020 increased slightly to 92.4 percent.

Dennis and Rachel participated in the International Corrugated Case Association’s (ICCA) Association Leaders’ virtual meeting.

In June, Dennis and Rachel participated in virtual meetings with other industry associations on Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR).  Maine and Oregon have since signed EPR legislation into law and we are working with AF&PA to formalize the industry’s position. FBA hosted a webinar on the results of the 2020 technical research project on unitization or pallet configurations.

Dennis and Rachel met with other ICCA representatives to plan for the 2021 ICCA/WCO Global Summit.

For the remainder of the year, customer visits are a top priority. Meetings are scheduled with Costco, Walmart and Amazon while others are pending with Publix, Albertsons, Target and ALDI.  Several data services reports (KPI, SPORS, Productivity & Waste, and NAICS) will be published in the coming months.  FBA will continue to work with other industry associations to boost residential recycling, promote corrugated sustainability and position the industry on EPR.  If you have any needs or questions, please let us know.  Enjoy the remaining weeks of summer.