Regional containerboard growing at 3-4%

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· Arab paper industry players come together under Arab Federation for Paper, Printing and Packaging Industries (AFPPI) to fight dumping from overseas markets

· Call to participate in GCC Containerboard Index for market clarity

Paper containerboard segment in the region has been growing above the global average of 2.5 per cent at 3-4 per cent on the back of the strong GDP growth, evolution of e-commerce and population growth, an expert said at the Propaper Dubai 2023 expo today.

“Commodity industry in the region is also subject to technicalities like supply and demand, performance etc., but we are seeing the containerboard industry growing forward and accordingly regular investments are also happening to bridge the gap between demand and supply,” said Eng. Sami Al-Safran, President of the Arab Federation for Paper, Printing and Packaging Industries (AFPPPI), and Group President of the Saudi-based Middle East Paper Company (MEPCO).

Cost inflation, environmental concerns, raw material availability and policy vacuum are some of the challenges faced by the industry in the region, but this is offset by opportunities such as sustainability, e-commerce development, economic growth and a large end-user segment, he said in a presentation at the ongoing Propaper Dubai 2023, organised by Verifair at Festival Arena, Dubai Festival City. The show also incorporates Super Sourcing Dubai under the auspices of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO).

“Propaper Dubai 2023 is focused on bringing market leading industry thought leaders to shed light on the market and trends to facilitate transparency and knowledge sharing. The participants at the expo represent a cross section of industry verticals and known for market leading innovation,” said Jeen Joshua, Managing Director, Verifair.

Regional players come together to fight dumping

Eng. Safran said the net containerboard imports to ME region stand at 20 per cent and the demand and supply could balance out by 2025, though further imports should be anticipated considering the excellent access to the regional market for overseas suppliers.

“At AFPPI, local industry players are coming together seeking support from government for different things and one of this is dumping. GCC companies have filed anti-dumping cases against suppliers from Germany, France and India, and investigations have confirmed that there is physical dumping and this will be addressed by putting in place safeguards such as higher duties,” he said.

GCC Containerboard Index

As a pioneering development in the regional paper industry, a GCC Containerboard index has been activated since May last year which captures market transaction data that can be accessed based on subscription as well as open data in some cases.

Industry experts urged paper industry players to participate in the index which will give all industry stakeholders from suppliers to end-users a facility to leverage and share data regarding transactions, price etc. which will help informed decision making contributing to more market stability.

India participation

Under the Super Sourcing Dubai 2023 organised by the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) and Government of India, around 47 companies are participating at the expo. The show has been a game changer ever since its inception during the COVID times, Indian officials said.

The endeavour of Indian exporters is to highlight quality and to showcase sustainable products at such global platforms where plastics are being replaced by sustainable recycled products and not trees,” said Mr. Yogesh Gupta, Chairman, FIEO (ER), emphasizing the imperative of having a sustainable, recyclable and biodegradable value chain.

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