The plastics industry can benefit from the growing opportunities offered by the UK's automotive manufacturing industry, suggests the new report
The UK automotive industry is a great success story and for once the government might possibly be able to claim some modest credit for this. It's generally recognised that its strategic approach as confirmed by the setting up of an Automotive Council and the emphasis it has placed on supply chain efficiency has helped in convincing the global automotive majors that the UK is serious about making cars. The difficulty is in identifying which government should take the credit! The origins of the strategic supply chain approach goes back to the days of Peter Mandelson, but, more recently, Vince Cable certainly put himself about the plants of Nissan, JLR and Ford.
A BPF seminar on plastics in the automotive sector held on 4th June illustrated the opportunities. According to the SMMT, the UK boasts seven volume car producers, seven commercial vehicle manufacturers, nine bus and coach manufacturers, eight major premium and sports car producers and eight Formula One teams. That certainly represents considerable commercial meat. On top of that, although recognising that 90 percent of the automotive output is actually exported, new car registrations are now up for 39 consecutive months.
Protecting the reputation of the industry has been an important theme for the BPF and alongside PAFA and PlasticsEurope, our partners in the Plastics 2020 Challenge initiative, we are financially supporting a new campaign to tackle the growing problem of litter on our streets. Other partners in this venture, known as 'Neat Streets' include Westminster City Council, Veolia, and INCPEN. The campaign is managed by a charity called Hubbub and features a series of interactive installations and exhibitions in Villiers Street, adjacent to Charing Cross railway station in London, that will trial new ways of encouraging people not to litter. The attractive point about this project from the BPF's perspective is that it puts the emphasis on behavioural change and moves away from misleading concepts such as proposed bans on single-use items. It kicked off on May 22nd and secured coverage in 'The Observer', the Express, Huffington Post, BBC Radio London and BBC 5 Live.
At the same time, the BPF was putting its many boots on the ground in China at the Chinaplas exhibition, held in Guangzhou between 20-23 May. Chinaplas continued its onward march with 128,264 visitors. In terms of numbers of exhibitors the show is now larger than the 'K' fair in Germany. Our BPF Pavilion embraced 13 companies, most of whom were recipients of UKTI grants. One of our exhibitors, Jason Young of Jayplas, said that the direct sales made at the show by the company will create at least six new jobs. We are expecting demand for space at the next edition, to be held in Shanghai between 25th-28th May, 2016, to be very high indeed. I therefore advise any interested company to contact Justyna Elliott at the BPF on email@example.com or 0207 457 5001 soon.
The China watchers in our BPF membership are also quite excited about recent announcements from Chinese government sources indicating that import duties will be slashed considerably in a bid to increase domestic consumption. There are concerns that the growing number of Chinese tourists are buying their luxury goods abroad and not in China itself. Whilst the press coverage has spoken mainly about import duties being cut on consumer goods, hopes are high that this will also extend to industrial materials and products, with many UK ancillary equipment manufacturers standing to gain. BPF has been in dialogue with the UKTI and CBI offices in China, which are in direct contact with the Chinese government, and they hope to provide clarification soon.