The kraftliner market is expected to grow at a moderate rate over forecast period owing to rising demand for containerboard manufacturing. The product falls under the linerboard category of paper and is used as a liner on the corrugated media of containerboards. The performance benefits associated with the product including high elasticity and high tear resistance provides enormous strength and durability in the case of packaging products.
The demand for container board is gaining high growth on account of its application in the packaging industry. Rising need of kraftliners in the packaging of goods has resulted in steady market growth for kraftliners. In the past few years, e-commerce and packaging industry have seen a constant growth worldwide due to changing lifestyle and higher disposable income. Therefore, rising income levels & growing per capita expenditure, increasing urbanization, widening the spread of education and an increase in literacy rate are expected to positively impact the industry.
Packaging board and paper segment cater to industries such as food & beverage, FMCG, textiles, pharmaceutical, etc. There is a huge demand for durable & quality packaging of FMCG items marketed at organized retail and increasing acceptance for ready-to-eat foods. As a result, enhanced strength and impact resistance offered by the kraftliners is expected to propel product demand over the forecast period.
Container board market is essentially driven by the increasing need of e-commerce transportation and shipments for qualities such as enhanced sturdiness and ability to design lightweight corrugated boxes for easy handling. The container board market of today is required to meet heavy customer demands with customized requirements which necessitates major innovations in cost-effective production techniques, material design, and sustainable manufacturing.
The kraft liner market can be segmented by product type, by basis weight, and by end users. Kraftliner can be classified into bleached (white-top) and unbleached (brown) kraftliner with a thickness of up to 100GSM, 100GSM to 150GSM, 150GSM to 200GSM, 200GSM to 250GSM and above. Printing Industry, electrical & electronics, consumer goods, agriculture, and food & beverages are some of the major end uses for the product. Box compression test (BCT) is used to measure the strength of the boxes, which gives the compression strength during a certain time interval (seconds) to understand the creep behavior and accordingly design the box. Bending stiffness of the corrugated board is an important factor for the deflection and buckling of the corrugated package which highly depends on tensile stiffness of the liners.
Concerns about the availability of quality raw materials at competitive prices exist compelling the players to depend on imports of pulpwood, wastepaper and pulp at a premium impacting their profitability and capacity addition. Rising imports at predatory prices from surplus countries like China is a major concern for most of the other regions. In case of a fragmented industry with lower capacities and with an individual paper mill, chances of using outdated technology is more. Moreover, there would exist problems related to a lack of skilled labor to handle the advanced equipment which might impact production effectiveness and utilization.
World’s three largest packaging board producing countries are the United States, China, and Japan. These three nations constitute for the majority of global share while India accounts for a very small but growing share of the global market. In the past few years shift to digital media and paperless communication across most developed economies has resulted into a contraction of the global paper and pulp mills industry. However, increasing demand in the emerging market has compensated for the decline by driving demand for paper used in packaging materials. Overall market demand for kraftliners is expected to continue growing at a steady pace with the packaging board & paper registering the fastest growth among other segments.
The Asia Pacific region is expected to dominate in terms of consumption over the forecast period. Also, demand is expected to increase gradually in another few years owing to the ever-increasing consumer goods industry and e-commerce industry. Emerging economies like India and China may create enormous opportunities in Asia Pacific kraftliner market. Other regions including NAFTA and Europe also represent high demand and growth for kraftliner products due to sustainable packaging solutions but will grow at a slower rate as compared to the developing countries.
The industry is fragmented and is highly competitive in nature with the presence of numerous manufacturers. The key players in the industry include Grupo Europac, Roxcel Trading GmbH, Smurfit Kappa Group, Astron Paper & Board Mill, Eagle Paper International Inc, Thai Paper Mill Co., Ltd, International Paper, Hazel Mercantile Limited, Universal Pulp & Paper, Nine Dragons Paper Holdings Limited, Mondi Group Plc, DS Smith Plc, Georgia-Pacific LLC, WestRock Company, KapStone Paper & Packaging Corporation, Metsä Board Oyj, Oji Fibre Solutions (NZ) Ltd., etc.
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