Asia Pulp & Paper (APP), the Jakarta-based world’s largest paper mill, said the Middle East and Africa (MEA) market is a critical growth geography for its paper and paper products. This is in light of the growing demand for bio-degradable green packaging solutions, estimated to be growing at around 4% annually.
The demand for eco-friendly paper products has been on an exponential growth curve in MEA post-Covid led by food packaging and other verticals such as catering, hygiene, pharma and cosmetics with an estimated market size poised to touch $28.72 billion, according to Mordor Intelligence. The demand is also catalysed by the surge in e-commerce with Saudi Arabia and the UAE leading the trend.
“ME region is one of the important markets primarily because of our long presence of over three decades, as also the region being a net importer of paper products, with APP registering year-on-year growth over the years,” said Sandeep Raina, Export Sales Head, Middle East and Africa for APP, adding that the company’s sales have surged back to pre-Covid levels.
The Middle East region now accounts for almost 15% of the global sales of APP, with a significant share of the growth coming from commodity and specialty grade paper. APP’s major markets in the region are the UAE and Saudi Arabia in the GCC, followed by Iraq and other markets. APP has fully integrated operations in Indonesia with a wide product range in the industry from Pulp, Paper, Packaging, Tissue and Stationery.
APP has a long association with ME and it has an official presence through a branch office in the UAE since 1989 and a wide network of distributors and customers in the region. “APP has chosen the UAE as its official base since the emirates is the largest business and trading hub in the region with best-in-class facilities in terms of banking, warehousing and re-exports,” said Raina.
APP is also a major supplier of Holy Quran printing paper to the ME region with a large market share. The product is Halal certified by Majlis Ulema.
The increasing awareness on lessening carbon footprint and stricter legislation on single-use plastics in many countries in the region, particularly in the GCC, green packaging materials, particularly paper packaging solutions, are major catalysts of growth. APP has been evolving its product portfolio and market strategy in this context, leading to innovation and new product range.
Packaging grades/tissue/photocopy paper/specialty grades are very much in demand and trends suggests that due to increase in online business packaging grades will continue to be in demand.
Letchumi Achanah, Head of Stakeholder Engagement & Advocacy for APP said that in line with the changing trend, APP has launched its bio-degradable Foopak Bio Natura range paper packaging solutions targeted at households, FMCG brands and the food packaging sector petroleum-free recyclable options to take on the plastic scourge.
“Sustainability is fundamental to APP's vision as we continue to improvise and evolve towards our production towards a greener future. The company is making significant strides toward achieving its net-zero emissions goal by 2060 or earlier, whilst exploring and implementing various measures,” said Achanah.--TradeArabia News Service