A competitiveness study on the UK packaging industry jointly conducted by Pira and The Packaging Federation proposes an action plan to be undertaken by an Industry Forum.

Speaking at the launch in London last month, Stephen Timms, MP, Minister for Corporate Social Responsibility, Competitiveness and E-Commerce, said: “The packaging industry plays a vital role in the UK. The competitiveness study shows that the sector is facing some important challenges through stronger competition in national and international markets.

“I am glad to see all parts of the industry coming together and, with the support of the Government, working to drive up the productivity and competitiveness of the packaging sector. Collaboration is fundamental for the UK packaging industry to realise the opportunities available to it.”

Pira director Ann Stirling-Roberts added: “The report clearly identifies fragmentation of the industry as a barrier to progress, and it is therefore heartening to see all sectors of the industry participating today, and demonstrating what can be achieved when we act in unison”.

The seminar also focused on other initiatives the UK Government is helping the packaging industry to take forward. These include the key issues from the e-commerce impact study conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, the Faraday Packaging Partnership, and the ‘Mapping’ project on skills requirements carried out by the Institute of Packaging, due to be launched this month (see separate story).

Chief executive of The Packaging Federation Ian Dent stated: “All the studies emphasise that the goal-posts are moving rapidly from the customer location base with recent moves to Eastern Europe, to the communication challenges of adopting and adapting to e-commerce opportunities and threats, to exciting technology developments. Grasping the opportunities with both hands is of crucial importance if the UK packaging manufacturing industry is to remain a healthy and dynamic part of UK manufacturing.”

He concluded: “The final action plan calls for co-ordination of the key issues and actions to be brought together under a DTI supported Industry Forum. The Packaging Federation will be pursuing that proposal with the DTI on behalf of the industry, but will wish to see a buy-in from all material sectors and government if it is to be effective.”

More information from Ian Dent on +44 (0)20 7808 7217. EMAIL: ian_dent@packagingfedn.co.uk