Chinese linerboard production capacity has exploded in recent years, with new machines starting up constantly. In contrast, new linerboard machine startups in the US are a rare occurrence. Note that the US producer is the "super" heavyweight with average machine capacity of 331,350 versus 234,400 tonnes/yr for the average Chinese machine. Although several factors are involved, one major factor helps explain the current difference in manufacturing cost levels for the two "producers". While about two third's of the US furnish is manufactured kraft pulp, Chinese producers have over 93% recycled fiber content on average. Additionally, almost all of the kraft pulp that Chinese linerboard machines use is purchased. Given currently high recovered paper (and kraft pulp) prices, the labor cost advantage for the Chinese machines is swamped by their fiber costs.
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