The Timber Packaging & Pallet Confederation (TIMCON) is more active than ever before in promoting the industry and its products in the face of difficult conditions prevailing in the market.
Delegates at the TIMCON agm held on 21st May heard that, against a backdrop of depressed prices and low demand, the organisation is working on vital initiatives, which include two studies on behalf of its own industry and a number of collaborative projects with colleagues in other timber based businesses as well as ongoing activity at the European level.
Addressing the meeting, President John Dye said: “Since our last agm our Timbertrends survey has shown demand for new pallets has dropped again, while in the construction sector in 2012, housing starts were down 11 per cent. These figures confirm that these are challenging times.”
However, he added that despite the obstacles, “TIMCON is pressing on with industry-leading projects, including a study into standards for the kiln drying of pallets and the ongoing Timbertrends survey, which now quantifies the UK timber packaging and pallet business on an annual basis.”
He continued that the organisation is becoming increasingly involved in collaborating with counterparts in the UK’s other timber-based industries, notably in its recent signing and attendance at the first meeting of the Timber Industry Accord and engagement with the Grown in Britain project.
Further afield, TIMCON continues to play a major part in the activities of the European Federation of Wooden Pallet and Packaging Manufacturers (FEFPEB) and work with other international industry associations.
TIMCON represents the UK in Europe on the issue of a possible extension of ISPM 15, which includes lobbying for an exemption for the UK for domestic movements of pallets and packaging on the basis that it is an island.
“However,” continued Dye, “TIMCON does not anticipate an imminent extension of ISPM 15 regulations for intra-Community movements of timber pallets and packaging. We are in ongoing dialogue with DG Sanco, the European Commission plant health experts.
“We support any initiative to protect our forests. They provide an essential and sustainable source of raw material for our products. There are existing regulations in place that can be implemented at short notice if a pest infestation problem was to arise. However, our view is that the risk of spread of pests through European pallets and packaging is negligible.
“The recent impact assessment DG Sanco carried out identified the need to give adequate notice of the order of three to five years for any extension of ISPM 15 in Europe. We believe there is therefore a negligible likelihood of an extension in the near future.”
The agm heard an update from Sophie Pickup of National Measurements Office on the enforcement of the recently introduction of the EUTR timber regulations, and a presentation on global trends in timber production and trade from Heikki Vidgren of Poyry.
During the agm meeting delegates were also told that another of TIMCON’s collaborative initiatives, The Stop the Spread garden, had received a silver medal at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show. The garden was commissioned by the Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera), supported by TIMCON
TIMCON’s agm was held in London and was preceded by a barbecue dinner held on the Thames on the deck of HMS Belfast. There was a gratifyingly high attendance at both events.
TIMCON’s key role in keeping its membership informed of important developments in the industry and representing the shared interests of the UK timber packaging and pallets industry was reflected in the fact that it has continued to sign up new members, concluded Dye.