Industrial/transit packaging is the largest packaging market, accounting for 42.7% of world packaging consumption and projected to grow at an annual rate of 3.1% till 2022 reaching to 425.6 billion (1).
Industrial/transit packaging includes steel racks, drums, intermediate bulk containers (IBC) and cases, sacks, pails, crates/totes, pallets, foam, folding carton, corrugated boxes, bags & pouches. Corrugated boxes account for a large share of the global industrial/transit packaging production. Corrugated boxes have been growing strongly in recent years as a result of versatility, light weight, high strength along with a biodegradable nature and easy recycling. The development of online shopping has dramatically increased the demand for corrugated boxes.
Industrial/transit packaging is forecasted to grow at a slightly higher rate than the overall packaging market, driven by the globalization of the economy, the global population growth and enrichment and the e-commerce developments. Asia is the largest industrial/transit packaging market, followed by North America and Western Europe. The emerging and developing economies are forecast to grow at twice the rate of developed countries and offer the best opportunities for industrial/transit packaging growth.
Asia and Africa are forecast to grow industrial/transit packaging consumption at the fastest rates, just ahead of Eastern Europe and the Middle East reflecting the economy development trends. Within Asia, China is the leader in industrial/transit packaging at almost double the size of the USA.
From a market standpoint, chemicals & pharmaceuticals is the largest market for industrial/transit packaging, followed by food & beverages and building & construction. Agriculture & horticulture, plastics & rubber and oil & lubricants are also significant markets. Chemicals & pharmaceuticals is forecast to grow industrial/transit packaging sales at the fastest rate, followed by oil & lubricants and agriculture & horticulture. Building & construction is forecast to grow industrial packaging sales at the lowest rate.
Sustainability is gaining traction in the industrial/transit packaging market. Sustainable solutions focus mainly on two areas: downgauging (lightweighting, new design, less material consumption) and the established ‘3Rs’: reduce, reuse and recycle. The industry has focused more on reuse and recondition rather than downgauging to optimize the potential for a sustainable packaging.