From Bananas to Car Engines, International Paper Containerboard Races Ahead to Worldwide Appeal

Last revised: February 28, 2024
Eric Lentz

Communications Intern

There is a high chance that the banana boxes at your local grocery store are made with paper from International Paper and have been around the world and back. Because IP’s Containerboard business exports to nearly every region in the world, it is possible to provide a variety of product solutions as wide as the whole world.
Rolls of containerboard products preparing for cargo transport around the world.

From pizza boxes in Italy to packaging for car engines manufactured in Asia that use 96lb paper made only at our Springfield, Ore., Mill, IP Containerboard is at the heart of the global supply chain. What do you need to make it all happen? Trust.  

"Customers believe we're going to be there because we've been there,” said James Lewis, Director of Containerboard Export Sales.  

However, the global supply chain isn’t always smooth sailing. In fact, even at its best, the process to reach a destination is arduous. Even with clear skies and calm waters, cargo ships crossing the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans will need three to four weeks to reach their destination. Then, all imports go through customs and inspections, which can take just as long.

Despite this, our customers around the world demand the best and know that quality products that fit their unique needs are worth the time it takes to cruise around the world.

“To be successful in every market of the world, you need to have the ability to meet a wide array of needs. That’s what IP offers – size, flexibility, multiple product offerings and a talented team to make it all happen,” Lewis said.  

“Generally speaking, box makers know that if they put a roll of IP paper on the corrugator, they're not going to have a problem with it," Lewis said. “They know that they're going to be able to make the boxes every day the way they want to make them, and that they have their system optimized.”

Specific quality attributes mean different things depending on where you are in the world. For example, in Latin America, compression strength — how much weight a box can hold before it crushes — matters because of the weight required to ship heavy produce in humid conditions. In Italy, where recycled content is the norm, pizza boxes must be made from new containerboard. International Paper delivers on these needs no matter where they are.

The next time you’re eating a banana or getting pizza to-go in Italy, just know that IP team members from our facilities to sales to transportation were involved in making that moment a reality. 

Explore IP's Containerboard solutions.