Growth in the U.S. economy boomed in 2018, slowed in 2019, and turned south in 2020 when COVID-19 started to spread widely in March. In 2019, trucks shipped 72.5% of all domestic tonnage, including an increase of 366 million tons over 2018. Also, across the northern and southern borders, trucks moved three-quarters of the value of trade between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Compared with previous recessions, trucking fared far better than the overall economy as the recession in the first half of 2020 was concentrated in the much less freight intensive, services sector. At the start of 2020, the U.S. remained in the longest economic expansion on record with the unemployment rate at 50-year lows. In the three primary categories of freight—retail, manufacturing, and housing construction—only manufacturing was struggling from an industry-specific recession in 2019. In January, retail sales notched a record high, and construction on new homes surged to its highest level in over a decade, according to the Census Bureau. Even manufacturing showed signs that it bottomed out in 2019, as the Institute for Supply Management’s Purchasing Managers Index reported an expanding manufacturing sector in January and February after 5 months of contraction.
The Wall Street Journal recently issued its inaugural list of the 100 most sustainably managed companies in the world. Crown is one of only two companies in the containers and packaging industry—and the only metal packaging company—named on the list and is ranked as the top U.S. company for environmental issues management, scoring “highly for its management of water, waste and air quality.” As a Company that has been guided by the principles of sustainability since it was founded, we are incredibly proud to be recognized as a top global performer. We take our role of being a responsible employer, partner and corporate citizen seriously and are committed to doing our part to maximize our impact while reducing our footprint.
There has been a surge in consumer demand for Bag-in-Box wines in the current year according to new data, partially caused by changing behaviours due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Research by packaging leader Smurfit Kappa in collaboration with Wine Intelligence found that Bag-in-Box wine attracted 3.7 million new consumers in France and the UK during the past six months. The survey analysed the behaviour of monthly wine drinkers in France and the UK, who have increasingly moved to drinking and entertaining at home due to the restrictions of the pandemic. France is the biggest market for Bag-in-Box wine and the UK is currently one of the fastest growing. Consumers noted freedom of consumption, ease of transport and value for money as the main motivations when purchasing Bag-in-Box wines. Other benefits of Bag-in-Box wine include its ability to preserve wine for up to 6-8 weeks after opening compared to 2-3 days in a glass bottle, and its lower carbon footprint.
Sonoco announced it is implementing a $50 per ton price increase for all grades of uncoated recycled paperboard (URB) in the United States and Canada, effective with shipments beginning November 16, 2020. Sonoco cited significantly longer backlogs at its mills along with continuing inflation of input costs, especially freight and papermaking chemicals as the drivers for this pricing action.
American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) President and CEO Heidi Brock issued the following statement recognizing the 60th anniversary of National Forest Products Week (October 18 – 24): “This week, during National Forest Products Week, we celebrate the undeniable value of the 950,000 people who work in the forest products industry – working safely to make essential products. “From tissue and paper towels, to packaging around the goods you ordered online, to the cups holding your coffee, paper and wood products contribute to our everyday lives. And, demand for these products encourages forest landowners to grow and replant trees, keeping forests as forests.”
Total packaging papers & specialty packaging shipments in September increased 14 percent compared to September 2019. They were up four percent when compared to the same nine months of 2019. The operating rate was 92.3 percent, up 6.7 points from September 2019 and essentially flat (-0.1 pts.) year-to-date. Mill inventories at the end of September decreased 3,000 short tons from the previous month, and were up 12,000 short tons compared to September 2019.
Total Containerboard production in September increased four percent compared to September 2019. It was up four percent when compared to the same nine months of 2019. September 2020 production of containerboard for export decreased 12 percent compared to the same month last year; it was up 19 percent year-to-date. The containerboard operating rate was 95.9 percent, up 3.7 points from September 2019 and up 2.8 points year-to-date. Mill inventories of containerboard at the end of September decreased 67,000 short tons from the previous month and were up 25,000 short tons compared to September 2019.
Total Boxboard production in September decreased six percent compared to September 2019. It was down three percent when compared to the same nine months of 2019. The boxboard operating rate was 88.3 percent, down 3.6 points from September 2019 and down 0.8 points year-to-date. Solid Bleached Boxboard production in September decreased 11 percent compared to September 2019. It was down six percent when compared to the same nine months of 2019. Recycled Boxboard production in September decreased one percent compared to September 2019. It was down two percent when compared to the same nine months of 2019. Unbleached Kraft & Gypsum production in September decreased four percent compared to September 2019. It was down one percent when compared to the same nine months of 2019.
According to the report, total printing-writing paper shipments decreased 21 percent in September compared to September 2019. U.S. purchases of total printing-writing papers decreased 20 percent in September compared to the same month last year. Total printing-writing paper inventory levels decreased seven percent when compared to August 2020. Uncoated free sheet (UFS) paper shipments decreased 19 percent compared to September 2019 while the inventory level decreased six percent compared to August 2020. UFS imports and exports both decreased compared to August 2019, down 18 percent and 40 percent respectively. U.S. purchases of coated free sheet (CFS) papers in September decreased 12 percent compared to last September while the inventory level decreased 10 percent compared to August 2020. CFS imports and exports both decreased compared to August 2019, down 36 percent and 27 percent respectively. Coated mechanical (CM) paper shipments decreased 31 percent compared to September 2019 while the inventory level increased two percent compared to August 2020. CM imports decreased 30 percent while exports increased five percent in August 2020. U.S. purchases of uncoated mechanical (UM) papers in September decreased 28 percent compared to last September while the inventory level decreased eight percent compared to August 2020. UM imports and exports both decreased compared to August 2019, down 15 percent and 44 percent respectively.
Ah, the ubiquitous—and critical—Call to Action. Great branding, sumptuous, emotional or humorous creative, a strong voice: they are the vessels that hold the CTA. The ask: to buy now; sign-up; get more information; go online; hurry, don’t miss this sale. For every response-driven tactic we create—from catalogs to emails—we need to ask ourselves, “What do we want the customer to do?” Indeed, high-level, impactive brand campaigns can be relieved of the CTA burden when awareness itself is the end goal. But for most of our day-to-day work, the collective “we” need to consider what behavior we are trying to provoke. Once that preferred action is defined, the CTA has the football. So many right and wrong ways to create a strong Call to Action. And so many opportunities to be creative while still getting the job done! Here are just a few thoughts in case you’re in a rut. For more, go to: https://www.jschmid.com/blog/breakthrough-creative-art-of-the-cta/