The GCC plastics industry offers a tremendous opportunity for the emergence of a dynamic and innovative small and medium enterprises (SME) sector, observed the Gulf Petrochemicals & Chemicals Association (GPCA), the region’s longest- standing trade association during the 5th International Conference for Plastic Conversion, PlastiCon 2014, taking place in the Expo Centre Sharjah from 7-9 April 2014.
“Manufacturers who transform basic plastic products into finished goods represent nearly 20% of the region’s plastic industry,” said Dr. Abdulwahab Al-Sadoun, Secretary-General of the GPCA. “These plastics converters introduce a number of additives to manufacture finished goods that suit the requirements of a diverse range of industries,” he added.
According to GPCA research, the plastics conversion market comprises over 1,000 companies that can be classified as small and medium enterprises, including family owned businesses and startups.
“SMEs are today at the the forefront of business innovation in the Middle East,” continued Dr. Sadoun. “SMEs involved in plastics conversion are particularly innovative as they extend the plastics supply chain by creating value-added products for the construction, infrastructure and food & beverage sectors, while creating thousands of new jobs,” he further added.
Saudi Arabia is currently spearheading this niche, representing 62% of the GCC’s plastic conversion market. The Kingdom also leads the plastics market, producing an estimated 18.4 million tons, or 74% of the region’s polymer production capacity. The United Arab Emirates is the second largest plastic converter in the GCC, after Saudi Arabia, accounting for 19% of the total regional output. The country also ranks second in total plastics manufacturing capacity, representing 10.2% of the region’s polymer capacity.
GPCA has predicted that, by the end of the decade, the region’s plastics conversion will grow to reach 7.5 million tons capacity, an increase of nearly 40% of its current output.
“This growth represents a huge opportunity for the emergence of new enterprises,” explained Dr. Sadoun. “Along with increased competition for the region’s major players, the rise of SMEs will be transformative as it not only represents the forefront of commercial innovation, but also the creation of thousands of jobs,” he added.
Now in its fifth edition, Plasticon2014 focuses on how innovation can lead to global and regional growth of the plastics conversion industry, featuring speakers from the region’s top petrochemical companies including SABIC, Borouge and Sadara Chemical Company.
On the occasion of PlastiCon 2014, GPCA published the report ‘GCC Plastics Industry Indicators 2013’, which will be available on its website http://gpcaplastics.com/2014/
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