What's going on in the Multi-Wall Paper Bag market? Why are my bags late and how can I prevent running out?

June 17, 2022

Multi-wall paper bag manufacturers are experiencing challenges unseen in 50 years. Economic and supply chain issues are continuing to wreak havoc on industrial bag suppliers and their ability to make on-time delivery. A war in Europe, global shipping imbalances, and an overheated U.S. economy is setting the stage for a rocky 2022-2023. Right now, there’s really no end in sight. Nevertheless, we’re committed to keeping our customers informed and prepared for packaging-related supply chain disruptions.

What's the reality regarding lead times for multi-wall paper bags?

Lead times are extended far beyond normal and will continue to get longer. Reasons for the backlog:

  • Extremely high demand 
  • Limited machine capacity
  • Limited paper supply
  • Labor availability 
  • Disruption in worldwide paper supply due to the conflict in Ukraine
  • Limited freight capacity

Current lead times by bag style (average)

26-32 weeks
PBOM Images_PBOM Pinch Bottom Open Mouth PBOM
20-26 weeks
Sewn Open Mouth (SOM)-SM Sewn Open Mouth SOM
16-20 weeks

Competitive intelligence suggests most North American suppliers are out 30-50 weeks on bags. Lead times vary based on bag construction and size. Bleached paper is becoming difficult to get and faces longer lead times and higher prices.

Valve bags have the longest lead time by far. Two years ago, this would seem inconceivable, but this is the new reality!

Are bag prices going up?

Yes. Paper is the primary component of a paper bag (seems obvious). Paper prices are continuing to increase and show no sign of leveling off. Bleached paper will see a significant increase in 2022. Reasons for increases in bag cost:

  • Extremely high demand
  • Increased paper costs
  • Increased labor costs
  • Increased freight costs
  • Increased plastic/film costs
  • Increased adhesive costs
  • Increased ink costs

How do I keep from running out of bags?

If you’ve managed to not run out of bags yet, you’re doing a great job! New customer demand for emergency stock bags is the highest in our company’s history, and we’re grateful to be able to support customers who’ve been run out by their current suppliers. 

Right now, we’re preaching to our customers: plan as far in advance as you can. Place your orders 6-12 months in advance. Order more than you normally anticipate needing. The cost of running out far exceeds the cost of having too much bag inventory. 

Utilize Southern Packaging's stock valve, PBOM, and SOM bag inventory

We recognize the extreme challenges bag manufacturers, packaging distributors, and their customers are facing. 

Southern Packaging has made the biggest commitment to plain stock bags in our 17-year history. While we usually maintain a stock of 2-3 million plain bags...

Copy of SP Feb 22 Social Posts - LinkedIn (Facebook Post)

If you have an emergency need for paper valve bags, PBOM bags, or SOM bags, please connect with us online, by phone, or by email.