Italian packaging machine exports skyrocket as sector surpasses €9bn milestone

The Italian packaging technology sector has exceeded €9 billion for the first time in 2023, according to preliminary data from Mecs-Centro Studi di Ucima (Union of Italian Manufacturers of Automatic Wrapping and Packaging Machines).

The overall turnover of the sector stands at €9bn and €50m, an increase of 6% compared to 2022. If the final figures confirm this figure, it will be the third consecutive record after those of 2021 and 2022.

Italian packaging machine manufacturers have found themselves in this position because of exports, which are worth 81.3% of turnover and which will close the year with €7.36bn in turnover.

The growth in foreign markets is equal to +12% compared to 2022. Positive trends have been recorded almost everywhere. The latest data available (ie those for the January-August period) indicates North America grew by 25% compared to same period the year before, the European Union by 17%, Asia by 22% and South America by 31%. The domestic market is declining, stopping at €1.68bn, -14% compared to 2022.

Ucima said it is confident of progress in 2024, with 8.2 months of guaranteed production (another record) although it noted the market is undergoing constantly changing geopolitical scenarios as well as European Union countries waiting for definitive directives on the use of packaging.

“In 2023 we have definitively left behind the problems of delays in components – declared Ucima President Riccardo Cavanna – and our companies’ turnovers have therefore been able to dedicate themselves exclusively to taking orders and delivering them, achieving this new record result.”

Cavanna added that orders, especially in recent months, have recorded a decline compared to 2022, which probably foreshadows an adjustment during 2024.

Domestically, that equates to a decline of -14%, which means the Italian market has suffered from inflation crisis and the lack of certainty on the topic of Industry 4.0.

Ucima is convinced €6.3bn from RePowerEU and allocated to the Industry 5.0 plan is excellent news, but wants to understand how the funds will be allocated and with what rules.

“To date, there is nothing on incentives for capital goods that facilitate the ecological transition and we are awaiting responses from the Government in this sense,” Cavanna noted.

“What I would like to underline most is the fact that throughout the world, food, beverage, pharma, tissue and cosmetics companies continue to request made in Italy technologies and solutions, thanks to the quality, reliability and innovation that we know guarantee. Speaking of innovation,” added the president. “Some of our companies have already implemented artificial intelligence solutions on machines: this is the challenge of the coming years and Ucima is ready to do its part in standing alongside companies to help them in identify the best development and internationalisation opportunities.”

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