Paper — like many goods across the country —is seeing an increase in demand, which has resulted in fluctuations with pulp (the material used to make paper), as well as the decrease in paper mills.
The global consumption of paper and board amounted to an estimated 399 million metric tons in 2020. It is expected that demand will increase steadily over the next decade, reaching approximately 461 million metric tons in 2030.
Many people believe that pulp and paper industry will eventually be hindered by the current digital age in which we live. However, the pulp and paper industry has been thriving and is expected to do so in 2022.
Terry Cady, who serves as the sales and marketing representative for Advanced Litho Printing described the many factors that come into play for the increasing demand.
"You've got hoarding of paper, you got the decline of domestic paper mills producing paper. All of our paper comes from Asia. Now with everything in the last two years, they're getting stuck on barges out there in the sea, and once they get unloaded, they have no people to transfer them. And basically, the other factor is a 35 percent increase in the costs since January of 2021, so it's one thing to be able to raise the costs. Everybody has had to do that, it's another thing when you can't get the supplies."
For paper supply companies, price increases have affected their own distribution of products.
"Copy paper is a prime, it's on allocation, the price has gone up every week, dramatically, over 50%. Customers have to deal with that if they have to buy it. 'Hey, I want a pile of copy paper.' Now my copy paper has increased 600 to 800 dollars a pallet," said Great Falls Supply and Paper owner Mike Flaherty.
Flaherty said that things will get cheaper once the production of pulp increases. But as to when that remains unknown, and in a time of uncertainty, preparing for the worst, is the only solution.