I wish to announce that my Ministry with the Sri Lanka Institute of Packaging will introduce training programmes for SME’s at regional level to strengthen value chains. As a result, our SMEs too can now enter the packaging sector,” said Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen.
Minister Bathiudeen was addressing the inauguration event of World Packaging Organisation endorsed ‘Lanka Pack 2012 International Packaging Exhibition’ on 25 May at the BMICH Convention Centre in Colombo. ‘Lankapack 2012’ expo, one of the most focused B2B events in the country’s exhibition calendar, is organised by Sri Lanka Institute of Packaging (SLIP), the key organisation representing the Sri Lankan packaging industry and is endorsed by the Ministry of Industries and Commerce, the World Packaging Organisation, the Asian Packaging Federation and has attracted significant foreign participation.
No less than 35 Indian firms and 10 Chinese firms are taking part in the expo as direct participants making it the first packaging event in the country with such a large delegation of exhibitors from overseas. In addition there also representations of some of the latest products and services from UK, USA, Germany, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia. SLIP has more than 170 medium and large scale packaging firms as members under it.
Minister Bathiudeen said: “As I announced in March 2011, it is a worldwide norm that a country’s packaging industry, usually is the size of two to three percent of its GDP. This benchmark alone shows us, that our packaging industry annual value exceeds $ 1 billion mark, given that our GDP now stands at US $ 58 billion, with 60 to 70% of packaging firms being semi-automated but looking to move into full automation in the future. The global packaging market in 2011 has been estimated at $ 696 billion and it is set to grow to $ 800 billion by 2016. The good news is that the global packaging sector recovered in 2010 but I am pleased to inform you that Asia is the highest growth market for packaging and as an emerging economy in Asia. Sri Lanka’s packaging consumption too will expand. Since the future of packaging, appear to head towards niche consumer markets, and our region’s major buyers India and China are demanding more and more packaging products and services, I believe our packaging industry can now open itself to the Asian region for its future growth thereby becoming a key contributor to our national exports goal of $ 20 billion by 2020. I wish to announce that my Ministry with the Sri Lanka Institute of Packaging will introduce training programmes for SME’s at regional level to strengthen value chains. As a result, our SMEs too can now enter the packaging sector.”
Highlighting his Ministry’s contribution, Minister Bathiudeen said: “There are some concerns, in certain areas of this industry such as product designing and diversification. Most important among them is the research and development issue. For example, there is no proper material available to substitute ‘Tetra Pack’ aseptic packaging material. If we have sufficient research and development facilities, we can easily overcome such issues. Therefore, I encourage the packaging industry to invest more on research and development so that our packaging can give an edge in international competition. We will be happy to support such research and development programs. In fact, Sri Lanka Institute of packaging has been working very closely with the Ministry for a long time. Together we organized skills development programmes locally and internationally, such as training in India Institute of Packaging, Thai Institute of Packaging etc. In addition, the Ministry supported the institute in organizing international packaging conferences and workshops in Sri Lanka. Also, the Ministry is in a continued effort of establishing an independent institute for packaging development including all facilities of research and development, training, testing and so on.”
SLIP Deputy President JDC Perera said: “Our flexible packaging sub sector which had only two companies a few years back, has today more than 20 firms and it’s the fastest growing sub sector with Rs. 250 million annual turnover. Among products from this sub sector are paper and plastic. The rigid packaging sub sector which produces such material as glass and metal is much larger in turnover where we give a value easily.”