The statistics of January to October, 2006 showed Taiwan corrugated production slightly declined by 0.11% to 1,576 million sq meters compared to the same period last year, which is resulted by the factor of continuous off shoring.

Although the GDP growth is estimated 4.3% for this year, the prosperity of high-tech and steel industries has not contributed to the consumption expansion of corrugated containers. The growth is deemed limited by end of this year and which is quite in accordance with the forecast of ICCA.

While Taiwan domestic corrugated market has stagnant, the industry has to work closely to build mutual confidence, stabilize end-product price and converting wage as well as respond to the upward cost by increasing selling price, besides, continue to expand overseas markets or explore the opportunities of strategy alliance toward substantial development.

Here are some perceptions following my recent visits to Japan and the experience gained from attending the ICCA and FEFCO annual meeting.

For Japan corrugated industry, I observed:

  • Plants and facilities are constantly being renewed, particularly in the area of environment protection with dust prevention, insect proofing, air conditioning, thereby making plants neat and reduce the wastage of basepaper.
  • Accelerated automation of plant equipment such astrolley, paper feeding, printing mold hanger and customer information and data retrieval system.
  • In addition, the mechanism on stabilized selling price and emphasis on on-job-training are most impressed.

As for European market, I observed:

  • Thought efforts were made on plant renewal and automation, the results were not as sophisticated and evenly spread as in Japan.
  • However, they improve value-added by constantly innovation in packaging design and also replace card board market with enhanced technologies as in the use of N flute followed after F flute generation.
  • In conclusion, the Taiwan industry has to focus on the development of new products in line with the overall trend and also carry out restructuring, while improving productivities and cutting down on the cost in order to improve the overall strength of the industry.
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