Glass production volumes grow in Europe, data finds

Glass packaging production volumes in Europe grew by 1.9% in the first half 2012, according to European glass packaging body Feve.

Glass main image

The growth is in response to the increasing demand on the domestic and outside EU markets, according to Feve.

It said that this builds on the positive trend recorded in 2011.

In a statement, Feve said: “Despite the unstable economic and financial crisis that negatively affects the whole European manufacturing sector, these records shed a positive light on the stability and future prosperity of the European container glass sector.”

Data showed that in the first six months, the industry produced 10.9 Mtonnes of glass compared to 10.7 Mtonnes in the first half 2011.

The increase was striking in countries such as Portugal (13%), Poland (7%) as well as in the North & Central Europe (6.2%) and South & East Europe (5.1%). Other EU countries like United Kingdom (2.9%), Germany (1.4%) and Spain (1%) kept the steady trend of previous years while other countries recorded a slow-down after strong growth in 2011. Turkey confirms a dazzling trend (8.3%).

According to the body, despite encouraging results, the impact of the long-winded financial crisis on the industry continues to weigh heavily on the competitiveness of the EU industry.

Energy prices

Increasing energy prices, unilateral CO2 costs, fluctuating and unfavourable exchange rates, and high labour costs hamper the cost competitiveness at global level of the container glass sector, Feve said. Combined, these challenges delay long-term investment decisions and rather become incentives for delocalisation of production sites and R&D investments outside EU to more industry friendly environments with lower costs.

“We strongly support the policy strategy of the European Commission, focusing on the manufacturing industry as powerhouse of the EU economy,” said Feve president Stefan Jaenecke.

Jaenecke said: “The container glass industry is making major efforts to adapt and innovate itself while continuing to meet market demand for a high quality and highly competitive packaging solution. These efforts need however to be supported by a legislative and economic framework that encourages the industry to look beyond short term results and fix long-term and sustainably sound objectives.”