“Demand in our Packaging segment remained strong with record first quarter sales volumes in both our containerboard mills and corrugated products plants as well as improved prices and mix compared to the first quarter of 2017,” Mark W. Kowlzan, chairman and CEO, said. “In our Paper segment, volumes were above year ago levels and although prices and mix were still below last year’s levels, we began to realize some of our announced paper price increases.
“Looking ahead as we move from the first and into the second quarter,” Kowlzan added, “we expect continued strong demand in our Packaging segment to result in higher corrugated products and containerboard shipments, and we will continue to implement our previously announced Packaging segment price increases. In our Paper segment, we expect volumes to be lower as we begin the conversion of the No. 3 machine in our Wallula Mill from paper to linerboard, and we will continue implementing the previously announced paper price increases. We also anticipate continued price inflation in chemical and freight costs, incremental wage pressure with a tighter labor market, but slightly lower recycled fiber costs and improving energy costs as we move into seasonally milder weather.”