The TricorBraun Pulse - August/September 2022

A Message from our Chief Commercial Officer and Chief Operations Officer

The global supply chain is showing us glimmers of hope, but should we believe the latest economic indicators? Despite the ongoing war in Ukraine and COVID-related economic contraction in China, both commodity prices and ocean shipping rates have dropped in recent weeks. In the US, the latest numbers show inflation has slowed—but even economists are divided on whether this means the worst is behind us. And we’re heading into the busy holiday season when consumer demand traditionally peaks.

Our entire TricorBraun team understands how demanding the volatile global market is for your business, and we are committed to helping you navigate through the uncertainty. From supply options to freight partners to alternative materials, we’re adjusting to the quickly changing market conditions to deliver the best total costs and best value available. Please contact us to see how we can further support you. We appreciate and value your business—and we’re here to help.


The Big Picture

Spot ocean rates have continued to trend down over the last few months. Inflation has caused sliding consumer demand, which has directly impacted current ocean imports to the US and Canada. This opens capacity on the steam ships, which inversely creates price competition. There will however be a floor—and as sailings become less profitable, ocean carriers will remove capacity by idling ships. This in turn will reduce capacity, thus driving pricing higher again. Likewise, the holiday season inventory build will start soon, putting more pressure on capacity.


  • Average container shipping rates from Asia to the US West Coast have dropped in recent months. Rates are now 13% lower to the West Coast from Asia compared to August 2021. In addition, spot rates have now fallen below the level of contract rates for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began. While there is cause for cautious optimism, the holiday season and reduced consumer spending could bring renewed price volatility.
  • Domestic trucking spot rates continue to see marginal improvement despite the dramatic fuel increases over the last four months and double-digit driver pay increases over the last 12 months. Rates improved by 1.5% from June to July, and are now down almost 3% since July 2021. 
  • New labor legislation in California could have a massive impact on the trucking industry. AB 5 requires companies to reclassify many of their independent contractors as employees—a major problem in a sector where many truckers act as independent owner-operators. California has roughly 130,000 drivers on the road; an estimated 70,000 are owner-operators who could be impacted by the new law. The shift could push truck drivers into other sectors (e.g., construction, manufacturing) or out of state, exacerbating existing US driver shortages and leading to higher domestic trucking rates.

Our Actions

  • We’re using a balanced mix of spot and contract rates weekly for ocean shipping to ensure that our customers are seeing the most competitive market rates available.
  • We’re constantly evaluating and onboarding new domestic trucking partners to ensure market-competitive transportation rates and industry-leading service levels. For example, we recently onboarded a new truckload vendor in the Midwest that has brought very competitive rates to that market.

Learn More

Peak Shipping Season Ahead of the Holidays:

Global Supply Chain Pressures are Easing—For Now:

AB 5 Throws 70,000 Truckers in Gig-Work Legal Limbo, Risking Supply Chains: 


The Big Picture

Supplies of everything from liners to resin are finally starting to improve thanks to a combination of softening demand and new North American capacity coming online before the end of this year. Glass supply continues to be tight through 2023. However, some spot capacity has opened on the domestic side. US warehousing space remains at a premium, especially on the East and West Coasts.


  • North American PE supplies continue to improve, and HDPE and LDPE inventories remain strong. North American PE capacity is expected to increase significantly as new capacity comes online this fall. European supplies of PE, HDPE, and LDPE are also improving as demand weakens and imports pick up.
  • PP supplies have improved. New capacity is coming online later this year.
  • PET supplies are also improving as some retailers are working through inventories. Imports into North America are expected to be strong throughout the rest of the year.
  • HOW2RECYCLE has said that PP is more widely recycled, which may drive more demand for PCR PP. CPG companies and others continue to educate consumers on how to recycle in hopes of driving more recycled feedstock.
  • Glass supplies remain tight due to disruptions in Ukraine and Russia and the response from customers looking to find alternative supply. As global shipping rates come down, we have found spot capacity globally as well as domestically to help with your requirements.
  • Liners supplies are improving as a result of new capacity coming online and decreased short-term demand in the nutritional segment.
  • Lead times for dispensing pumps and trigger sprayers have shortened for both US and international supplies.
  • As property values increase, so does the cost of warehousing space – especially at East and West Coast locations. Warehousing costs are up 20% nationally from a year ago, and much higher in California and New York/New Jersey. Factors include limited supply in some areas and rising insurance rates due to flooding and other extreme weather. In addition, rising inventories of goods coupled with truck and labor shortages are increasing the demand for warehousing space in key markets.

Our Actions

  • We’re maintaining a supply of stock bottles, closures, and pumps for our customers.
  • We continue to expand our global relationships with glass manufacturers to find more supply. We have built over 40 stock tools to help with supply options and are constantly replenishing our stock glass options to meet our customers’ forecasted needs.
  • We are supporting domestic vendors for some packaging when customers need to shift their requirements from offshore to North America to reduce lead times and avoid international freight cost volatility.
  • We’re helping customers interested in switching their packaging from glass to plastic. Ask us if you’re interested in exploring hot-fill PET as an alternative to glass.
  • We continue to build new molds with customers looking to take cost out by reducing gram weight or aggregating/downsizing their packaging sizes.
  • We're leveraging our existing warehousing relationships and expanding our capacity where needed, including in Houston, to mitigate operating costs and ensure supply availability for our customers. We're also opening new, larger locations, including in Kansas City, Miami, Salt Lake City, and St. Louis. Ask about a warehousing agreement and how it could help you alleviate supply disruptions.​

Learn More

Peak Shipping Season Ahead of the Holidays is About to Begin for a Volatile Supply Chain:

Supply Chains “Definitely Stable” After Pandemic Mayhem, DHL Chief Explains: 


The Big Picture

Prices have started to soften thanks largely to improving inventories and weaker demand. Prices for most virgin resins are down. PCR resin prices are down in the US but remain high in Europe as recyclers pass on their rising material and energy costs.


  • PE, HDPE, PET and LDPE prices are dropping thanks to robust inventories and new capacity coming online later this fall. PP prices have also dropped in recent weeks as demand weakens and supplies improve.
  • Prices for US PCR resins have decreased. Bale pricing for curbside PCR PET is down due to decreased demand from reclaimers. Recycled PET, HDPE, and PP prices have also dropped. In Europe, however, prices for PCR PP, PE HDPE, and LDPE are up as recyclers increasingly pass on their rising material and energy costs.
  • PS prices have continued to rise as a result of increases in the price of benzene. Benzene is a feedstock of styrene—the raw material in polystyrene.
  • Supplies of bio-resins remain tight as demand for alternative materials increases.
  • Aluminum prices have continued to drop from their near-record highs as demand slows down.
  • Pricing for corrugate containers is coming down due to slowing demand.

Our Actions

  • We’re assessing the availability, lead times, scalability, and pricing of bio-resins, and we’re actively testing products to understand performance in various packaging formats. We’re also identifying manufacturers who will run these new resins in their operations.
  • We are working with key PCR suppliers to secure resin for our customers. Talk to us about how we can help you secure your supply.

Learn More

World Food Prices Drop for Fourth Month as Grain Gets Cheaper:

PP, PET Join PE, PVC in a Resin Pricing Slide:

Recycled Resin Prices Rise in Europe Even as Virgin Resin Prices Drop: 


The Big Picture

The global supply chain is finally showing signs of coming out of the twin shocks of the global pandemic and the ongoing war in Ukraine. But the impact is uneven. In the US, the latest economic numbers are good: the consumer price index fell slightly and the jobs numbers were much better than expected. Despite the improving economic signs, high prices on everything from food to cars have created what New York Times editor David Leonhardt calls “the anxious index”—signs of a stronger economy coupled with ongoing concerns about a potential recession. In Europe, meanwhile, inflation hit a record 8.9% in the Eurozone as a result of higher energy prices, the war, and slow economic growth. And, in Australia, inflation is at its highest level since 1990.


Learn More
Inflation Explained: Why Prices Keep Going Up and Who’s to Blame:

Inflation Hits Record 8.9% in Eurozone:

Runaway Consumer Prices Took a Breather in July, Fueling Hopes that Inflation Has Peaked:

The Big Economic Question:

Why is Australia’s Inflation So High?


Our team is working day and night to help you manage today’s uncertainty, and we’ll continue to harness our expansive resources and industry-leading capabilities to serve you. As your global packaging partner, we will continue to leverage our:

  • Unmatched purchasing power, access, and scale, including a vast supply network of more than 1,000 domestic and international suppliers
  • Financial strength to make investments that support supply
  • Strong relationships with strategic suppliers to increase capacity
  • Stable shipping connections, to move supply even in tough times like these
  • Team of sourcing experts, on the ground throughout the world, seeking new product options and negotiating supply for your benefit
  • Dedicated in-house quality professionals, preventing issues and assuring standards
  • Expert supply and demand forecasting to help you plan ahead, and strengthen continuity of your supply

For more, contact your TricorBraun packaging consultant or

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