Date posted: 4th November 2013
The European Federation of Wooden Pallet and Packaging Manufacturers (FEFPEB) is the leading European industrial association in the field of timber packaging including pallets and industrial packaging.
From the 16th to the 18th October, FEFPEB held their 64th annual congress in Bordeaux, France, to discuss important matters relating to wooden packaging. Topics included worldwide timber trends, the impact of the recession and discussing a common approach to ISPM 15 phytosanitary regulations.
ISPM 15 Extension In Europe
Key to the agenda was the discussion regarding extending the ISPM 15 Standard for intra-Community movements of wooden pallets and packaging. Such extension would effectively mean all newly manufactured wooden pallets and packaging and all repair timber would have to be heat treated.
At the congress, Marc Michielsen described the current position and likely future developments of ISPM 15 and that the European Commission could propose an extension of the standard for domestic movements of wooden pallets and packaging.
Explaining the key actions that would be taken by FEFPEB, Mr Michielsen commented that the European Commision (D G Sanco) and FEFPEB are fully engaged in dialogue to work closely with the European wooden pallet and packaging industry.
The EC is conducting an economic impact study with conclusions due by 2015, with any enforcing changes potentially taking up to 5 years to implement. Although it is likely there will be no further announcements by D G Sanco until 2015 it is important that the industry is alert. If there is a pest infestation outbreak in Europe before that time, changes may be introduced very quickly.
As mentioned above, although no immediate changes are scheduled the situation could change quickly. However, unless a substantial pest outbreak occurs and the EC announce changes earlier than 2015 or your customer has specific requirements domestic wooden pallets and industrial packaging can remain untreated for movements within the EU.
Biomass demands and worldwide timber trends
Pöyry Management Consultants presented to the Congress an interesting review on world timber trends. The volume of timber in Western Europe will need to increase to meet demand which is likely the push timber prices up. Pöyry estimate that there will be a significant increase in demand by as much as 60-80 million cubic metres by 2020.
With government targets set to increase renewable energy there has been an increased demand for wooden pellets and wood chip for biomass boilers. National incentives have driven this increase with the implementation of initiatives like Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) providing additional income to households and businesses. This is demonstrated by European imports of wooden pellets increasing from 1.8 million to 4.3 million in the last three years.
It is anticipated that there will be greater wooden pellet demand and supply due to the energy incentives. There is little doubt that this will impact on pallet wood availability and prices, and in turn drive pallet prices even higher over the coming years.
Any other business
Other important topics discussed at the congress included the serious economic and commercial challenges that the European wooden pallet and packaging industry has faced. Associates were commended by Gil Covey for their ‘resilience and flexibility’ enabling essential products and services, vital to the global supply chain, to remain in circulation.
This was the last congress that Gil Covey presided over after an impressive eight year period overseeing the Federation. Rob Van Hoesel was appointed as the new President with Michael Modugno taking the place of Vice President. Gil will retain a role as part of the Executive Committee as Treasurer.
For more information on FEFPEB please visit www.fefpeb.org.