Today, as Middle Eastern suppliers of BOPP film continue to capture market share from traditional European suppliers, the South African market is becoming an increasingly attractive target for BOPP suppliers in that part of the globe.
One example is Gulf Packaging Industries, based in Saudi Arabia, whose regional marketing manager, Fahad Mahmood Pirzada, recently visited PACKAGiNG & PRINT MEDIA’s offices, accompanied by local representative, Mike McHarry of Durban-based R.E.M. Papers.
Gulf Packaging Industries, Fahad explains, is intent on becoming one of the primary suppliers of BOPP to the South African flexible packaging industry. Indeed the company has been active in this market for the past two years and has already signed up a number of blue-chip customers. ‘We have been slowly building up our market share, and gaining the trust of local flexible packaging converters,’ Fahad adds. But now the company’s marketing efforts are set to intensify, and the target sales figure is 5 000 tons/annum.
According to Fahad, Gulf Packaging, founded in 1989, was the first producer of BOPP film in the Arabian Gulf region, and has built up an impressive 20-year legacy of partnership with customers. ‘We’re proud of our reputation as a solutions provider and innovator. Our corporate culture is one of dedication, respect and continuous improvement. We measure our success by our customers’ successes, by applying technology-based solutions to solve their toughest problems,’ Fahad adds.
Importantly, the company has made the transition from being a local producer to becoming a highly-competitive global supplier. ‘We can match all competitors in terms of quality, price and delivery times,’ Fahad insists.
What’s on offer for converters?
Gulf Packaging’s range of BOPP films is comprehensive, including transparent, white, pearlised or matt films for both narrow-web and wide-web flexible packaging applications.
For labelling non heat sealable, one-side treated super white opaque BOPP films for wraparound labelling and cut & stack labelling offer opacity and a bright white background, excellent stiffness, high gloss and printability. They’re also highly receptivity to adhesives.
Gulf Packaging’s low sealing temperature (LST) films, offering high yield and excellent gloss, are available in different thicknesses from 25 to 40µm, and are ideally suited for printing and lamination, to produce the high-quality flexible packaging required for use on high-speed HFFS and VFFS machines.
The Gulf Packaging plants in Saudi Arabia are ISO certified and follow AIB standards. All films are suitable for food packaging, meeting EC Directives 94/62/EC, 2002/72/EC and US FDA Codes CFR21 Section 177.1520 (olefin polymers).
Additionally, as Mike McHarry of R.E.M. Papers, comments: ‘Saudi Arabia is of strategic importance as a supplier. To lessen of its dependence on sales of crude oil, the Saudi government is actively encouraging the establishment of downstream industrial companies to add value to oil exports.’
R.E.M. Papers – now in its 17th year of operation – is active in all the market segments targeted by Gulf Packaging.
‘Following anti-dumping duties imposed on us by the local producer of BOPP, we’ve spent three years seeking a suitable partner to meet the stringent requirements of the South African market,’ Mike McHarry adds. ‘We’re delighted to be in partnership with Gulf Packaging at a time when the company is on the expansion trail.’
Continuous investment in capacity
In order to be better serve customers, Gulf Packaging has a programme of continual investment in employees, internal processes, production capacity and business systems.
As part of this programme, the company is investing heavily in additional capacity to meet increasing global requirements for BOPP film.
Current production figures are around 36 000 tons/annum, but a new line to be commissioned by January 2010 will see this figure leap to 75 000 tons/annum.
But that’s not the end of the story, as Fahad Pirzada explains: ‘We will have yet another new line by the end of 2010, which will take our production figure to 110 000 tons/year; and our plan is to produce 300 000 tons/year by 2015.’
In addition, to meet increasing demand for value-added film, Gulf Packaging has enhanced its metalliser capacity to 12 000 tons/year.
In the flexible packaging industry, everyone talks about quality, service, customer support, competitive pricing, and value. And it seems that all suppliers claim to lead the race!
This begs the question: What does Gulf Packaging offer that puts it ahead of the competition?
‘Our success is a result of professionalism, excellent management, immaculate technical expertise and customer satisfaction,’ Fahad replies.
‘We’re the pioneer of BOPP and metallised films in the Gulf region, and we’re expanding our production capacity to meet demand for our products in the local as well as export markets. Our core target is customer satisfaction through quality and innovation.’
As proof of this statement, Gulf Packaging supplies customers around the world – from the Middle East and Europe, to Africa, Asia and the US.
‘I’m optimistic about the opportunities available to address the requirements of customers in South Africa,’ he concludes.