The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) recently released its 50th Annual Survey of Paper, Paperboard, and Pulp Capacity, which reported that U.S. paper and paperboardcapacity declined 2.5 percent in 2009 to 93.9 million tons. The decline took place against a backdrop of a severe global economic recession. Paper and paperboard production is rebounding from the recession-induced lows reached in early 2009.
The Survey also reported that 14 U.S. mills were permanently closed in 2009, shutting down 16 paper and paperboard machines, and an additional 11 machines were permanently shut down at other mills. Furthermore, several mills and machines have been indefinitely idled in response to weak market conditions, but have not been removed from the Survey base because they may be restarted at some future date.
According to data reported to the Survey, total paper and paperboard capacity is expected to decline 3.4% in 2010 and then remain essentially stable in 2011 and 2012.
The Survey reports U.S. industry capacity data for the years 2009 through 2012 for all major grades of paper, paperboard, and pulp, based on a comprehensive survey of all U.S. pulp and paper mills. Survey respondents represent about 90 percent of the U.S. industry capacity.