As in any industry, industrial packaging experiences fluctuations in price and lead-times. During the latter part of 4th quarter 2018, there were three products that were impacted by these variances.
This product saw its share of increases and decreases in the earlier part of 2018 (overall increase of 3%), but in late November/early December we finally saw a decrease of about 3%. Pricing is predominately dictated by the resin manufacturers. For example, when Hurricane Harvey hit in 2017, prices increased 14% over a short three-month period. For early 2019 there is talk of another price decrease but it has not been confirmed yet. We will still not reach pre-Hurricane Harvey pricing, but we are moving in the right direction.
Because paper manufacturers are running close to capacity, cornerboard saw two increases in 2018 (up 16-17%), with another announced increase in January of 2019 (3%). We are working with our suppliers to offer options that will offset this latest increase. One option would be to provide cornerboard that are in the natural paper state—no white paper on the outside. By going with the natural cornerboard, customers can avoid the 3% January increase.
Polyester Strapping saw a few increases throughout 2018, with the latest one taking place in December. The market seems to be stabilizing for early 2019.
As a premier packaging distributor, it is our job to know our industry. We have aligned ourselves with the top manufacturers in each product group so that we can help our customers weather the ups and downs of the packaging industry with as little change to price and manageable lead-time as possible. When you partner with Murphy Packaging, we help you monitor your inventory levels so that you can buy at the right time and, more importantly, we keep providing you critical packaging material even when inventory levels are tight in the industry. In our 40 years of business, we have never shut a customer down because product was unavailable. We plan on keeping that true for the next 40 years.