16 April 2015Gulf Print & Pack exhibitors optimistic on growthClick on image to download high resolution versionGulf Print & Pack exhibitors are optimistic about their future prospects in the region, as the Middle East package printing industry is poised to register a compound aggregate growth of 5 per cent until 2019, valued at $52 billion.The data is based on the latest industry estimates, which also show that the regional growth forecast will slightly outpace the global growth projection which is estimated to be at 4 per cent. Joelle Rayess, COO of Dubai-based International Distribution Network SAL (stand G90) says, packaging demand will be driven by higher economic activity and rising real incomes, urbanization, a relatively young and growing population and the further development of retail infrastructure in several MENA countries. “Used in a wide range of industries across food and beverage, healthcare, cosmetics and other FMCG segments; as well as a range of commercial and industrial sectors, package printing has become an essential item, with its usage growing broadly in line with the growth of the global economy,” she added. The growth prospects could even be brighter for the UAE, according to Vaibhav Kulkarni, Product Marketing Manager - Gluing System, Baumer India Pvt. Ltd. (stand E25), which could boost the regional growth forecast to 7 per cent. “This is largely due to the opportunities that will arise from Dubai’s hosting of the World Expo in 2020.” Kularni sees the entry of end-of-line packaging as a future trend that will play a significant role in increasing package printing capacity across the supply chain to meet the expected growth in demand. Meanwhile, Riad Paul Khoros, CEO, Pro-Chem Trading/Schmid Rhyner AG (stand A17) believes the increased speed of consolidation across the package printing industry will lead to further expansion of the market, and will be aided by “the shift to UV technology that will reduce networking capital and increase production speed.” Regulatory restrictions on plastics use will also have a significant impact on suppliers of paper-based products, according to Maxim Covali, Marketing and Sales Manager of Somtas (stand G3). “The new law in the MENA region restricting plastic use is helping us as producers of paper bag making machines to receive new customers willing to move from the plastic to the paper packaging industry,” he added. While the prospects are indeed bright for package printing suppliers, the massive opportunities at stake will lead to challenges such as, “High levels of competition and maintaining a balance between aesthetic contemporary design and staying competitive. This is why greater adoption of latest 3D technologies can address many of the challenges facing this industry and let them compete in the global market place,” explained Melanie Keeley, Marketing Director, D2M Solutions FZE (stand K26). Another possible obstacle is the growing social media phenomenon. According to Roger Nicodeme, General Manager – Sales, Heidelberg Gulf Est. (stand B1), “Challenges will be coming from the social media as more and more budgets are moved from the printed media to the digital and to the social media; as well as the need for higher quality products at reduced costs.” Over 300 local and international suppliers of package printing products and solutions are participating in this year’s edition of Gulf Print & Pack hoping to leverage the networking opportunities provided by the event to take advantage of the burgeoning opportunities throughout the region. “The feedback from exhibitors has been overwhelming and the excitement created by expectations of growth have really made the forthcoming show our biggest edition yet,” said Mike Simmonds, event manager at Gulf Print & Pack. To be inaugurated by H.H. Sheikh Hasher Bin Maktoum Al Maktoum, Director General of Dubai Information Department, Gulf Print & Pack will take place in Dubai on 13-16 April at the Dubai World Trade Centre. Entry is free and pre-registration can be made at www.gulfprintpack.com.