It is no secret that supply and demand for packaging products were thrown severely out of alignment when the COVID-19 pandemic began in early 2020. As quarantine mandates rolled out across the country, the demand for e-commerce products skyrocketed. In turn, demand for corrugated cardboard boxes and plastic mailers did the same. As packaging supplies dwindled, the packaging industry became hungry for raw materials and more resources to keep up with demand. Unfortunately, the pandemic, and a series of other unfortunate events, have further put the squeeze on the packaging industry, creating new problems in the packaging supply chain. The good news is that America’s packaging industry is innovative and working hard to tackle these challenges. We’re going to get out of this packaging shortage, but it may take some time. Here’s what needs to happen to make America’s packaging shortages end:
Raw packaging materials need to be more readily available.
In 2021, packaging manufacturers experienced a number of major setbacks in their efforts to procure raw materials. An ice storm in Texas in early 2021 caused the power grid to fail, resulting in shutdowns at numerous chemical plants. This event, along with chemical supply shortages, spurred a worldwide shortage of the plastic resin used to make flexible plastic packaging. In late March, the Suez Canal was blocked by a freighter for six days, clogging up shipping traffic worldwide and throwing suppliers further into a tailspin. From shipping container shortages in Asia to pandemic-related factory shutdowns, the list of bottlenecks in the supply chain goes on. Packaging manufacturers are working to innovate new solutions and creatively source materials but experts suggest that it could take 1 to 2 years before raw materials for packaging production are as available as they were before the pandemic.
Workers are needed in plants, trucks, and planes.
A record 4.5 million workers quit their jobs in November of 2021. The country’s “great resignation” has strained companies and supply chains in nearly every industry. Manufacturers can’t manufacture without workers, deliveries don’t happen without drivers, and materials don’t move around the country without airline employees. Even if all other things are remedied in the packaging supply chain, it takes people to make things happen. Labor shortages are expected to continue into 2022, and packaging manufacturing will be strained until employment in manufacturing plants and throughout the shipping industry return to pre-pandemic levels.
The packaging shortage is a worldwide problem that will take time to solve, but PAC has shipping solutions that are available right now.
Throughout the past two years, PAC has dedicated a significant amount of time and resources to work through supply chain issues, innovate new packaging solutions, and hire skilled workers to keep our customers satisfied. Despite the tumultuous market and supply chain setbacks, PAC currently has a strong stock of poly mailers and bubble mailers that are ready to ship right now. If you have questions about the packaging supply chain or product availability, reach out to a PAC packaging specialist here: https://www.pac.com/about-pac/contact-us/