Although jobs are at stake following Ball Packaging Europe’s decision to close its metal beverage container plant in Runcorn, Packaging Today International understands that a number of vacancies are available to employees at other sites. The closure is also still subject to discussions with the trade unions.

The plant has two production lines for steel cans and one for aluminium cans. Due to low capacity utilisation the two steel lines had to be mothballed in the first quarter of this year.

Order volumes have dropped due to the substantial oversupply in the European beverage can market, which is especially prevalent in the steel segment. This is also due to the uncoordinated introduction of a deposit on one-way packaging in Germany. The Runcorn plant has therefore lost on any export potental to mainland Europe.

“With only one remaining aluminium line, the plant cannot run its operations cost effectively,” says Hanno C. Fielder, chairman and chief executive officer of Ball Packaging Europe. “We therefore regard the consolidation of our aluminium capacity into our plant at Wrexham, and the closure of the Runcorn site as a solution that will secure the competitiveness of our company.”