As in many other industries, the paper industry has been impacted by massive disruptions to the global supply chain due to Covid-19.

Paper mills are struggling to keep up with the increased demand for paper stock, causing an increase in costs.

What are the reasons for the ongoing paper shortage?

There are several reasons for the global paper shortage. Here are a few factors to consider:

  • The main reason for the paper shortage stems from the fact that there is a global paper pulp shortage. 
  • Many paper mills pivoted from producing printing paper to meet the more profitable demands for e-commerce related packaging materials.
  • Some paper mills were forced to scale back production during the Covid pandemic.
  • With the advent of e-books, paper mills anticipated a massive decline in the printing of books and reduced paper production accordingly. However, printed books have retained their popularity, which has also contributed to the paper supply shortage.

Tips to mitigate the paper shortage

It’s essential that you plan and submit your Q4 print orders to your print partner. Once you’ve placed your order, paper stock can be reserved or indented for your print project. As they say, planning is the first step to success.

Your print partner is in constant contact with paper merchants and will be in the know regarding paper stock availability. Should your regular paper stock not be available, they will be able to offer you a variety of solutions including:

  • Reducing the grammage of your paper stock.
  • Selecting a paper stock produced by a different mill. 
  • Changing your paper from matte to gloss coated stock, or vice versa.
  • Replacing coated stock with uncoated stock, or vice versa. 

Paper stock price increases

Although the US is the second highest pulp and paper producing country in the world, there is still a need to import paper stock from Asian and European mills. It’s been reported that the cost to ship paper stock from Asia has more than tripled.

In addition, London-based paper and packaging maker DS Smith, which operates fourteen paper mills across Europe and two in North America, recently cited “significant increases to the price of paper.”

As such, rising paper stock prices should come as no surprise.


In conclusion

Renowned futurist Jack Uldrich is quoted as saying, “Every technology has unique and tangible benefits, and paper is no different. Arguably, paper is the greatest instrument ever invented for conveying, sharing, and disseminating information.” 

Wise words that lend further credence to the necessity of placing your print orders timeously, to avoid possible disappointment as a result of the current paper shortage. 

If you’re needing advice or would like to chat about the paper shortage solutions Sepire can offer your business, you can connect with our team here.