The web paper market is currently experiencing a severe shortage.

More and more paper mills have closed their doors or will be converting to more profitable “papers” such as brown corrugate liner paper. Though this conversion fights the lack of profitability for the mills, it further contributes to the shortage – which is expected to continue at least through 2020.

We’ve received word that the mills have started allocating their paper. They look at customers as either “existing programs” (on-going, regular business for specific print jobs, such as a regular publications) or “spot purchases” (usually on-time print jobs or seasonal printing). Mills are using this criteria to prioritize their supply – supporting their long-term program buyers who have a long standing purchasing history with the mill. That is not to say that others won’t be able to get paper, but that it will become increasingly difficult to get it on short notice. For example, certain Matte stocks already have availability dates that stretch into late October.

So what does this mean for commercial print companies and customers? That proper production planning is more critical than ever. That we need to be planning further in advance than we ever have before, and that we will need to collaborate to manage each other’s expectations when working towards our common end goal.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us for any related/industry-wide questions you may have.