In the Packaging segment, corrugated products shipments were up 1.9% in total and per day, over last year’s third quarter. Containerboard production was 1,070,000 tons, and containerboard inventory was down 30,000 tons from the second quarter of 2019 and down 51,000 tons compared to the third quarter of 2018. In the Paper segment, lower volumes in the third quarter of 2019 compared to last year were primarily due to discontinuing the paper business at the Wallula Mill.
“In our Packaging segment, we continued to run our containerboard system to demand in a very cost-effective manner,” Mark W. Kowlzan, chairman and CEO, said. “Our mills supplied the necessary containerboard to achieve new shipment records in our box plants, and our inventory was below last year’s and second quarter levels. Average domestic prices were about where we expected based on the changes in the published domestic containerboard prices from earlier this year, however our corrugated products mix was slightly better. In the Paper segment, volumes for our office paper and converting grades were slightly above the third quarter of 2018. Prices and mix were higher than last year’s third quarter, but moved lower compared to the second quarter of 2019, although at a slower rate than the published index prices.”
“Looking ahead to the fourth quarter,” Kowlzan added, “in our Packaging segment we expect slightly lower prices as the remaining impact of the published domestic containerboard price decreases from earlier this year work through our system, and lower export prices. Containerboard sales volume will be lower as we continue to run to demand and work towards building some inventory prior to year-end in preparation for first quarter 2020 scheduled maintenance outages at our three largest containerboard mills. In our Paper segment, volumes are expected to be seasonally lower along with lower average prices.”