Packaging Machinery Shipments Rise in 2003

United States packaging machinery shipments reached $4.889 billion, an $82 million, or 1.7 percent, increase over 2002, according to the 10th Annual Shipments and Outlook Study conducted by the Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute (PMMI). The report contains up-to-date statistics, estimates, analyses and forecasts on the U.S. and Canadian packaging machinery industries.

The study reveals that exports of U.S. packaging machinery jumped 33.1 percent in 2003, hitting $952 million, the highest level of export sales in five years. Domestic sales were down by 3.8 percent for the year, but a record backlog of $1.3 billion, up 23.6 percent from 2002, reflects positive influences in the economy.

"The 2003 numbers indicate a strengthening economy in a competitive international marketplace," notes Charles D. Yuska, PMMI president. "Manufacturers are now experiencing a genuine economic revival, and we expect to see continued economic growth."

Several machine categories grew more than 5 percent in 2003 including Inspecting, Detecting, Checkweighing (+8.4 percent); Coding, Dating, Printing, Marking, Stamping and Imprinting (+8.1 percent); Labeling (+5.6 percent); and Form/Fill/Seal Bag/Pouch (+5.3 percent). Of the 16 defined packaging machinery segments detailed in the report, 12 increased sales, with only four decreasing.

Other factors contributing to the spending levels during 2003 included:

An Export Surge -- Owing largely to a favorable exchange rate of the U.S. dollar, as well as an improvement of conditions overseas, exports of packaging machinery rebounded by more than 33 percent in 2003.

High Level of Machinery Replacement Activity -- Much of the buying activity in 2003 was directed at machinery replacement, rather than the addition of new lines. Focused on improving productivity with new machinery technology, end-users replaced older units with higher-tech models.

Specialized Packaging Requirements -- Giant retailers have had a momentous effect on the kinds of packaging end-users must provide. These specialized requirements were responsible for a significant proportion of new machinery purchased in 2003.

The results of PMMI's 10th Annual Shipments and Outlook Study show promise for the future of the industry. U.S. shipments of packaging machinery are forecast to grow at a cumulative annual rate of 3.9 percent over the next three years, from an estimated $4.889 billion to $5.491 by 2006.

According to the report, the primary reasons for this expected growth will include:

A Growing U.S. Economy --The U.S. Gross Domestic Product is expected to increase rapidly by the end of 2004 and is expected to be in the range of +4.0 percent to 4.3 percent for the year, then between +3.0 percent and 3.5 percent in 2005, and between +4.2 percent and 4.6 percent in 2006.

Capacity Utilization Will Continue to Rise -- In step with an improved economy, capacity utilization is rising to 76 percent levels in 2004. The food segment, a key indicator for the machinery market, has improved to 81.7 percent.

U.S. Export Growth -- Aided by the expected continuation of a favorable U.S. dollar exchange rate as well as improvement in global economic conditions, U.S. manufacturers will enjoy a favorable export environment.

"With forecasts predicting a stronger world economy and a more stable domestic marketplace, U.S. manufacturers are in a strong position to capitalize on their history of innovation," adds Yuska.

The principal objectives of the study are to collect accurate and meaningful statistics on U.S. packaging machinery industry shipments and to provide relevant market analysis and forecasts for the industry as a whole, as well as for 17 individually defined machinery categories. The project was originally conceived with the underlying purpose of creating a reliable statistical base upon which subsequent industry performance can be measured annually.

A copy of the Executive Summary of the 10th Annual Packaging Machinery Shipments & Outlook Study can be found under the Statistics & Research section of www.pmmi.org. A copy of the complete study is also available from PMMI for $2,500 (non-member price). To order a copy, contact Paula Feldman, director of statistics, PMMI at 703-243-8555 or [email protected]

The Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute (PMMI) is a trade association whose more than 500 members manufacture packaging and packaging-related converting machinery in the United States and Canada. PMMI's vision is to be the leading global resource for packaging. Its mission is to improve and promote members' abilities to meet the needs of their customers.

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