The paper and pulp industry is one of the largest industries in the world, and the U.S. produces more than 70 million tons of paper and board every year.
From the southeast thicket of Georgia to the northwest forests of Oregon, freight rail moves American paper and pulp products that protect our food, keep us safe and enable e-commerce. In a typical year, America’s freight railroads carry more than 780,000 carloads of pulp and paper products all around the country. In 2020 alone, freight railroads moved 1.1 million carloads of lumber and paper products.
Because of their size, weight, and diversity, trains are the ideal solution for getting pulp and paper products to market. Pulp is a fibrous material most commonly prepared from wood, cotton and grasses and processed to make paper, food packaging, cardboard and other plant-based products like sponges and bandages. Believe it or not, pulp is also used in the production of LCD screens and automobile tires.
Freight railroads have adapted to meet the changing needs of the American people; newsprint for newspapers now makes way for cardboard for e-commerce shipping. In fact, one of the most common uses for paper is paper-based packaging and boxes, which enable the nation’s emerging e-commerce market. Sturdy, lightweight, and customizable, paper-based packaging is a versatile and cost-effective way to transport, protect and preserve a wide variety of consumer goods.
Paper products are essential to our society as a renewable, recyclable and sustainable commodity. Every day U.S. paper manufacturers recycle enough paper to fill fifteen trains of boxcars a mile long.