Packaging shortages to hit supply chains

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Supply chain operators could soon be hit but a massive packaging shortage, warns Antalis
Supply chain operators could soon be hit but a massive packaging shortage, warns Antalis

Related tags Packaging

As packaging demand swells, driven by an accelerated switch to online purchasing, supply chain operators should consider alternatives to paper and card to maintain the flow of materials, according to Antalis.

John Carter, head of business development at the paper and packaging distributor, warned packaging shortages were a continuing trend and businesses would need to plan ahead to avoid getting caught out.

 As he explained: “The recent problem lies partly in the recycling chain as there is a shortage of pulp used to make packaging and this is affecting supply. Pre-pandemic, most deliveries were made directly in bulk to shops and restaurants, and packaging found its way quickly back into the system via established recycling policies and good practices.

Availability limited

“Today, availability of recovered paper and board is limited, and is expected to decrease further in the future. With high street retail closed, packaging is now going directly to consumers and is taking much longer to reach the recycling chain and, even if it does, there is a high possibility of it being contaminated from household use or poor consumer disposal practices.”

However, Carter was quick to reassure businesses that all hope was not lost. He advised them to look into alternatives to paper packaging, while reconsidering packaging design – such as more efficient box shapes – to minimise material use.

“2021 is going to be an interesting year for all sorts of reasons,” ​Garner continued. “Availability and lead times are extended, shortage of materials, backlogs at ports are all compounding what is a difficult situation. We’re likely to see lots of changes and developments.


“I would encourage collaboration to cope with the present shortage in supply and future changes like we’ve never seen before. Get advice, take long term action and talk to your packaging supplier now.”

Meanwhile, the warehousing and logistics sector could soon face a ‘perfect storm’ of challenges​ in the next few months irrespective of Brexit, according to Schoeller Allibert UK.

Undersupply of warehousing property and lack of domestic manufacturing capacity in the returnable transit packaging industry would leave supply chain operators unable to cope with the accelerated adoption of e-commerce, the company claimed.

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