Expanding at a robust growth rate of 6.8 percent, the global demand for bulk chemical packaging is estimated to reach a valuation of approximately US$ 10.7 Billion, in 2019, as per a recently published study Future Market Insights (FMI) on the global packaging landscape for bulk chemicals. Bulk chemicals, also called commodity chemicals, have witnessed a surge in demand given its wide application in a host of end-use industries such as healthcare, food processing, construction, and automotive.
“The global trade of bulk chemical products has increased many fold in the past two decades, pushing non-traditional chemical manufacturers to use bulk containers to address packaging demands. Some of these industries include bio-chemical manufacturers, specialty chemical manufacturers, and food grade ingredient manufacturers. Holistically, the strong performance of the chemicals industry, both commodity and specialty subsectors, can safely be attributed to the industry’s increased productivity over time and China’s substantial economic growth in the last two decades. Chemical industry’s promising future, will positively impact the bulk chemical packaging landscape, in the coming years”, explained a senior analyst.
Key Demand-Driving Factors Include:
Growing adoption of better performing and cost-effective larger containers versus smaller containers having short service life along with increasing shale gas explorations in U.S apart from other gas drilling and refining activities will drive more investments in chemical production, thereby, increasing the demand for bulk chemical packaging products across the globe.
Intermediate bulk containers (IBC) and drums are expected to experience the fastest growth through 2019, as per the report, given its advantages of cost effectiveness and reusability. However, among the global bulk chemical packaging market’s product type, drums will remain the most preferred packaging product, with nearly 83 percent revenue share.
The global bulk chemical packaging market is also reflecting product customization trends to suit the end-user requirements. Increased storage capacity, longer service life that allows large scale industrial customers to gauge the substantial long-term cost benefits, are some key considerations companies are making.
Apart from dimensions, companies in the bulk chemical packaging market are also offering light weight and cost-competitive products compared to the more conventional steel drums. In addition, material enhancements to make bulk chemical packaging products corrosion and impact resistant are also being deployed.
Supply Chain Complexities and Fluctuating Raw Material Prices Still a Major Concern
Despite the strong growth outlook projected for bulk chemicals packaging landscape, supply chain complexities that places the packaging manufacturers a couple of nodes away from end-consumers often results in lack of flexibility and agility among packaging manufacturers. Moreover, lack of processes and a seamless supply chain management, specifically among companies operating in chemical packaging sector, translates into a slower supply chain information process and customer-specific needs rarely communicated to manufactures in bulk chemicals packaging landscape. Escalation in the raw material prices in addition to other input costs arising from lack of imports has increased prices of the bulk containers—exemplified by price hike of steel drums by Greif, Inc, a key manufacturer in bulk chemicals packaging market. This could remain a limiting factor against the growing demand for bulk chemicals packaging in the coming years, further limiting the profitability for the manufacturers.
Elaborating on the trends projected to drive bulk chemicals packaging product innovations, the FMI analyst further adds, “Apart from dimensions and material customizations, manufactures, particularly in U.S have developed innovative barrier solutions with logistical and lifecycle benefits. The barrier technology is positioned to remain specifically critical for specialty chemicals, further protecting it from contamination. Another trend gaining traction is the RFID technology, for tracing and tracking IBCs emerge as an effective tool to save cost and enhance customer service. In addition, FMI research foresees paradigm shift from traditional sales pattern to e-commerce. Many bulk chemical packaging manufactures are opting for e-retail sales as a core market strategy”.
Bulk Chemical Packaging Market Showcases a Fragmented Landscape wherein smaller companies account for approximately 60 percent of the total market share, in terms of revenue. As per FMI’s analysis:
Bargaining power of suppliers is estimated to remain high considering relatively less number of packaging manufacturers compared to specialty chemicals manufactures.
Threat of substitutes will remain relatively low in the coming years, as IBCs and drums remain the most preferred products for bulk chemicals packaging.
Although the landscape is relatively fragmented, portfolio restructuring by key companies with dominant presence in U.S has created a highly concentrated structure, further intensifying the competition in bulk chemicals packaging market.
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FMI offers an in-depth analysis of the key companies in the bulk chemicals packaging landscape, while evaluation their key market strategies, product offerings, financial and pricing analysis, and recent developments. Some key companies profiled in the report include Greif, Inc., C.L.Smith Company, Schutz Container Systems, Inc., Mauser Group B.V., and Industrial Container Services (ICS) among others.