Prices for cardboard boxes, wood pallets increase amid tight supply

July 21, 2021 – The prices for shipping supplies, such as corrugated boxes and wood pallets, have been climbing recently amid tight supply, according to the Institute for Supply Management’s June manufacturing report.

Both boxes and wood pallets have reached record highs on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Producer Price Index. Corrugated and solid fiber box manufacturing climbed to 375.3 in June, up from 342.0 in June 2020.

The index for wood container and pallet manufacturing rose to 208.5 in June, versus 155.1 the year prior.

Companies are still clamoring for these pricier materials as they try to keep pace with heightened consumer spending, particularly for e-commerce orders that call for cardboard packaging.

Corrugated packaging manufacturer WestRock raised prices across all paper grades and saw North American box shipments increase 5.5% YoY, Ward Dickson, executive vice president and CFO, said on the company’s Q2 earnings call.

Pallet costs, meanwhile, were up 400% in May due in part to strong demand and lumber costs, the United Fresh Produce Association said in an emailed notice.

Thomas didn’t provide data on growth in wood pallet sourcing specifically, but CEO Tony Uphoff said wood pallets ranked No. 4 and No. 10 for items sourced from California and Pennsylvania, respectively, according to Supply Chain Dive.

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