March 17, 2011
Demand for rigid bulk packaging is projected to reach US$6.7 bln in 2015, as per Reportlinker. Increases will accelerate from the performance of the 2005-2010 period, reflecting improved manufacturing output as the US economy rebounds from the recession that began in December 2007. Additionally, gains will be driven by a shift in the product mix toward larger, higher-value containers that offer enhanced performance and are more cost-effective than smaller containers with shorter service lives.
Material handling containers and rigid intermediate bulk containers (RIBCs) are expected to experience the fastest growth through 2015. Material handling container gains will be driven by a rebound in durable goods production from a low base in 2010, along with heightened usage of returnable and reusable containers in the production of durable and other goods, and the need to boost manufacturing efficiency and achieve cost savings.
RIBC prospects will be stimulated by an upswing in chemical production as well as cost and performance advantages over smaller, single-use or shorter life packaging (e.g., bulk boxes, and steel and plastic drums). Although RIBCs have a higher initial cost than other rigid bulk containers, these products offer increased storage space-efficiency and longer service lives, allowing large-scale customers to realize significant long-term cost savings.
While drum demand will benefit from a rebound in chemical production, prospects will be tempered by competition from larger capacity products such as rigid and flexible intermediate bulk containers. However, plastic drums are forecast to post above-average gains as a result of ongoing conversions from fibre and steel drums. In the dominant nondurable goods sector — including chemicals, food, plastics, rubber, fiber, petroleum, lubricants, and agricultural and horticultural products — the chemicals market will grow the fastest. Advances will be fueled by heightened manufacturing activity, especially in significant end markets for chemicals, such as motor vehicles and construction. This will result in increased demand for packaging used with bulk quantities of chemical products.
Additionally, opportunities for pharmaceutical rigid bulk packaging applications will be aided by rising pharmaceutical production as a result of the aging of the US population and a heightened reliance on medications by seniors. Advances in the food and beverage market will be aided by rising demand for convenience and prepared foods, which will support demand for a range of bulk ingredients employed by the producers of such foods. In addition, an improved outlook for the foodservice industry will aid demand for rigid bulk packaging containers (e.g., drums and pails) for food and beverage products distributed to restaurants and other foodservice venues. Above-average increases in the durable goods market will be based on a rebound in durable goods output coupled with continued efforts to improve manufacturing efficiency. Such efforts often involve the adoption of reusable plastic material handling containers. However, declines in motor vehicle production in recent years have resulted in a smaller base of suppliers in the industry, with will affect related rigid bulk packaging demand.