Paper Arabia, the flagship event for paper and board industry in GCC was held from 24 to 26 September 2013 at Dubai convention & exhibition centre. The visitor turn out did not disappoint and diversity of more than 7500 people who came from all over the region and Africa to see the latest offerings in paper and board industry was also encouraging. Meanwhile 130 exhibitors from 22 countries from across the world, exhibited their latest offerings and services at the show. The show’s participants included leading global names from the UAE, Italy, Jordan, France, China, Netherlands, USA and UK amongst other countries.
Satish Khanna, General Manager, Al Fajer Information and Services, organizers of the show, said: “Paper industry could be an ideal investment for GCC public and private sectors to invest in to create a non-oil economy in the Gulf as well as provide employment opportunities to GCC nationals.”
He also added that consumption of tissue paper in the UAE recorded double digit growth in 2013, driven by a booming tourism sector that attracted a huge influx of tourists in the first half of 2013. On the other hand, digital media has started to adversely affect paper consumption in the UAE as a result of reduced demand for print media. However the paper industry is being boosted by a higher demand from packaging, especially smart devices manufacturers. The rising popularity of smart phones and digital tablets have boosted the fortunes of the paper industry. According to Khanna Paper Arabia 2013 could be worth up to $400-$500 million in deals for companies exhibiting in the show.
There were some major announcements during Paper Arabia including Abu Dhabi National Paper Mill’s decision to buy AED 200 million for a new-generation PM3 NTT tissue manufacturing machine. The deal sealed between ADNPM and Metso manufacturer of the machine worth AED 200 million. The new PM3 NTT tissue manufacturing machine will increase the company’s capacity from 63,000 to 90,000 tons per annum by 2015. These new Sweden-made machines are only available in Mexico during 2013 and in Chile by 2014 and in the UAE by ADNPM by the second quarter of 2015.
The PM3 NTT machines will be a strategic addition to ADNPM production line where the entire factory production is currently merely depending on Italian made machines.
Mr. Helmut Berger, GM of ADNPM said: “45% of our products go to the UAE, part of the 80% that goes to the GCC region. The remaining 20% are shipped to Australia, Africa, Europe and the rest of the world. We anticipate a one third of our production capacity to be produced by this machine by the second quarter of 2015, achieving an enormous increase of 30000 tons annually.”
What exhibitors had to say?
Orient Links is a regular exhibitor at Paper Arabia. This year the company perhaps had the biggest stand at show. Orient Link’s head office is in Dubai with office branches in Delhi, India and Lagos, Nigeria and plans to open more offices in Eastern Europe. The company represents several paper and packaging manufacturers from India and Far East and sells more than 200000 tonnes of paper to 35 markets in Middle East, Africa and Eastern Europe.
Sunil Bakht from Orient Links says the company’s main focus is writing and printing paper however due to shrinking commercial printing market and rise in demand for packaging Orient links has added packaging grades to its portfolio. “ Printing and writing paper market is still healthy however packaging is growing lot faster to the tune of almost 7%,” comments Bakht. On the other hand Karunesh Singh, Orient Link’s CEO is satisfied with the visitors’ turnout,” we had visitors from Turkey, Iran and GCC countries. The first day was a little bit slow but the second and third day of exhibition the number of visitors increased considerably. We also met with new customers. However I believe this show should shift to a biannual calendar instead of annual event. All in all the show has always been good for us,” opines Singh.
Not all the exhibitors were 100% satisfied with Paper Arabia 2013. Al Hussein Hamididdin general manager of Saudi Paper and Converting Company was one unhappy customer. The company is a major producer of tissue in Saudi Arabia. “To tell you the truth I’m a bit disappointed with the show. I was expecting a free Wi-Fi services but I found out that we had to actually pay for it. This year the show seems to be smaller and the number of visitors is not what we had expected. I think this show should become a biannual event. This way it will attract more visitors and exhibitors as well”, argues Hamididdin.
The 2013 edition of Paper Arabia was a true reflection of a market in transition. More paper suppliers are turning their attention to the growth segments which includes, packaging, tissue and digital printing. Companies are also trying to reach out to more customers not only in the Middle East but also in Europe and other regions of the world. The global trends applies to all segments of graphic arts and paper industry is no exception.