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Wooden pallets continue to be booming in Germany
The Federal Association for Wood Packaging, Pallets, Export Packaging (HPE) reports fewer wooden pallets for 2022, but more boxes and cable drums made of wood.
The situation on the market for wooden packaging is also an indicator of developments in the domestic and export economy. The production and foreign trade figures of pallets, crates and co. are therefore an interesting economic barometer. The market developed unevenly last year. The prospects 2023 are changeable, as explained by the Federal Association for Wood Packaging, Pallets, Export Packaging (HPE).
Fewer pallets produced
In the face of macroeconomic turbulence in the course of the Ukraine war, manufacturers of wooden packaging in Germany have had a turbulent year behind them and estimate the outlook for the course of the year 2023 cautiously. Production trends 2022 were uneven.
According to the Federal Statistical Office, over 117 million wooden pallets were produced in Germany last year; that was 2.3% less than last year. With almost 120 million pallets, 2021 had been marked an all-time high. Despite a decline in pallet production, 2022, according to the Federal Statistical Office, increased sales within the year by around 24% to 1.69 billion. € only in this segment.
The explosion in energy prices, labour costs and the increase in the price of intermediate products were central factors for cost increases by manufacturers, which were reflected in sales increases. This affected producers of pallets, crates and cable drums made of wood equally, explains HPE Managing Director Marcus Kirschner.
More boxes and cable drums
According to the Federal Statistical Office, 2022's turnover from the production of crates made of wood and wood-based materials increased by 17.1% to €575.9 million compared to the previous year. At the same time, sales in this segment increased by 4.8% to just under 1.72 million m3. Sales of cable drums rose even more strongly. Compared to the previous year, their production climbed by almost a third to a good 243,000 m3. 2022 still stable demand in the construction and infrastructure sectors has supported this market.
Looking at the current year, the HPE Managing Director is cautious. The current outlook does not give rise to excessive optimism, he said, referring to the gloomy prospects for the construction economy and the rate of inflation. Pallet and wood packaging manufacturers are also concerned about a new packaging regulation and the supply of raw materials. It is up to politicians to ensure good availability of the raw material wood, instead of constantly closing down further areas.
Imports and exports decreased
Pallet imports to Germany declined in 2022 due to the current political situation, by almost 11% to 70.1 million pieces. In terms of value, however, a plus of €17.6% to €761.7 million was recorded. As usual, Poland ranked first among the importing countries, whose deliveries to Germany decreased by 7.2% on 28.2 million pallets.
According to the Federal Statistical Office, Germany's pallet exports declined 2022 compared to the previous year by only 4.2% to 33.1 million pieces. Here, too, the opposite trend took place. In terms of value, exports increased by 30.0% to 463.3 million. The total market for pallets required in Germany was thus 154 million pieces.