66th FEFPEB Congress – Wooden pallet and packaging suppliers to work more closely to stress advantages of wood

Global Forum agrees on joined up approach to communicate the benefits of wooden packaging and pallets  

The FEFPEB event feature s tour of Mid-Cork Pallets, and Glennon Bros' sawmill.

The FEFPEB event featured a tour of Mid-Cork Pallets and Glennon Bros’ sawmill.

Wooden packaging and pallet industries around the world have agreed to work even closer together to harmonise communications about the environmental and economic advantages of using wood rather than other materials.

Delegates at FEFPEB’s (European Federation of Wooden Pallet & Packaging Manufacturers) 66th Congress in Cork, Ireland – titled Wooden pallets and packaging: A sustainable business in a fast-changing world” – heard the consensus was one of the outcomes of the second meeting of the industry’s Global Forum, which met on the first day of the annual conference.

A FEFPEB secretariat presentation to the congress business session said publicity campaigns, driven mainly by several plastics industry companies around the world, had created increasing amounts of negative stories in the media and that misunderstandings about wood were still prevalent. Members of the Global Forum – which consists of leaders from the sector in territories including Europe; Canada and the US; China, Japan and South Korea; Australia and South Africa – agreed that coordinating the facts about the positive impact of using wood, on an international basis, was an important step in defending the world industry against the damaging impact of inaccurate and negative press.

In the FEFPEB presentation to the business session, Secretary General Fons Ceelaert gave the congress latest statistics on the status of the European industry. He also updated delegates on developments in ISPM 15, the Packaging from Nature PR campaign and FEFPEB’s work in the EU, including its contribution to the revision of the Packaging Waste Directive.

The FEFPEB business session was also given updates on markets around the world, starting with the Irish forestry, sawmilling and packaging and pallet industries by Ireland’s Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney – who opened the event; CEO of local sawmilling operation Glennon Bros, Mike Glennon; and head of Irish Forestry Commission (Coillte) Fergal Leamy. There was a presentation on the UK by Ian Brownlee of the UK Forestry Commission.

Representatives of the Chinese, Korean and Japanese pallet and packaging industries presented developments in their countries, followed by Brent McLendon and Brian Isard, respectively heads of the US and Canadian industries, who gave an overview of their own markets and the public relations initiative they will launch jointly in 2016.

Chairman of European Confederation of Woodworking Industries (CEI-Bois), Marc Michielsen, gave a presentation on the close match between the European industry’s priority areas and the policy objectives of the European Union. Delegates were also informed about technical developments in sessions on ISPM 15, quality scanning technology and the positive outcomes of a new study about the use of wood for transporting food (the results of which FEFPEB will be releasing shortly).

The congress was based at Cork’s Rochestown Park Hotel. It also featured visits to Glennon Bros’ state-of-the-art sawmilling facility, which includes the latest stress grading technology from Canada; and Mid-Cork Pallets, one of Ireland’s leading pallet manufacturers.

Social events included a welcome showcase dinner of local Irish speciality food and drink, an evening at Curraheen greyhound racing track and a gala dinner to close the event on Friday. There were also a number of networking breaks featuring congress sponsors.

The event attracted more 250 delegates and partners and generated record sponsorship income.

Gold industry sponsors of the event were: Bes Bollmann; BREPAL; Cape; Coillte; Corali Spa; Eirebloc; ECC Timber Products; EPAL; Euroblock; Glennon Brothers; GP Wood; ITI Engineering; Viking Engineering; IMAL; IMITEK; Kiln Services Ltd; Murray Timber Group; Pooling Partners; Scott Direct; and Storti.

Silver industry sponsors were: Arch Timber Protection; BASF Wolman GMBH; CHEP; EPAL Academy; Ire-Wel Pallets; LPR; and Yaskawa.

Enterprise Ireland and Cork Convention Bureau were also gold sponsors of the congress.

Rob van Hoesel, President of ( FEFPEB ) at the opening of the 66th European Federation of Wooden Pallet & Packagig Manufacturers Congress at the Rochestown Park Hotel. Picture, Tony O'Connell Photography.

Rob van Hoesel, President of ( FEFPEB ) at the opening of the 66th European Federation of Wooden Pallet & Packaging Manufacturers Congress at the Rochestown Park Hotel. Picture, Tony O’Connell Photography.

FEFPEB President Rob van Hoesel said: “Held in the beautiful and welcoming setting of Cork, our 66th Congress was an excellent event, which gave an essential overview of the most important developments taking place in our sector, and the chance to discuss these, and network and socialise with colleagues. The Timber Packaging & Pallet Confederation (TIMCON) organised a superb and innovative programme with the support of its membership in Ireland.

“This highly successful congress reinforced the critical importance of the pallet and packaging industry to national forest-based industries, which are an outlet for 20 to 25 per cent of European sawn timber production; and to the wider economy. This was highlighted by the attendance of all major Irish sawmilling companies and the Irish Minister for Agriculture.

“The congress attracted delegates not only from our European membership catchment but also from outside it, representing wooden packaging and pallets industries from all over the world. It demonstrates the truly international nature of our business and how companies within it from all over the world are working ever closer together to ensure that wood remains the material of choice for pallets and packaging into the future.”