MCMA pins hope for the metal packaging sector with new steel minister

Ram Chandra Prasad Singh took charge as union minister for steel
MCMA pins hope for the metal packaging sector with new steel minister
Ram Chandra Prasad Singh (Right) took charge as Steel Minister at Udyog Bhawan. The Minister of State for Steel, Faggan Singh Kulaste (Left) welcomed the cabinet minister. Photo - PIB

Metal Container Manufacturer Association (MCMA), the umbrella body representing the interest of companies involved in the production of metal containers, packaging, and allied components, welcomes Ram Chandra Prasad Singh taking over as Union Minister for steel and is pining optimistic hopes that urgency will be shown to the pandemic-hit and cash-starved metal packaging sector.

A delegation led by the president of MCMA, Sanjay Bhatia, met the steel union minister on 15 July 2021 and briefed him about the importance of the metal packaging industry and the issues currently faced by the industry in terms of the acute shortage of its main inputs that is Tinplate or Tin free steel and various steel products like Easy open ends, peel offs, aerosol can components, and closures. Further highlighted that the three-month extension of Quality Control Order (QCO) is not helping the industry. Keeping in mind current Covid conditions in India and overseas, they should extend it till March 2022. It also emphasized that for non-critical applications industry needs non-prime material; therefore, it should be ensured that material is made available to that industry segment.

The minister has given assurance to MCMA that the Steel Ministry will extend a helping hand and the best possible support will be extended to the metal packaging industry.

Sanjay Bhatia, president MCMA
Sanjay Bhatia, president MCMA

India’s primary organization representing the interests of companies involved in producing metal containers, packaging, and allied components, the Metal Container Manufacturers’ Association (MCMA), foresees a key role for metal packaging in the future the global focus on sustainable principles of reduce-reuse-recycle.

Tinplate demand is expected to grow at 4-6% and reach around 770-800 KT by 2024.

The industry provides packaging material and packaging solutions in the form of tin containers, component closures, and others to food, beverages, and other household industries. Besides edible products, there is extensive use of tin plates in SME industries engaged in manufacturing lanterns, stationery boxes, mosquito coil holders, and so many other day-to-day low-cost utility items. Moreover, the sector provides direct and indirect employment to over 100000 people as there are many MSME Players in this sector.

Also, since metal packaging is 100% recyclable, environment-friendly and sustainable packaging material, it has been suggested that the government roll out a scheme to incentivize the user industry to encourage the use of such packaging material.

The rapid growth of the market is primarily driven by the pharmaceuticals and foods and beverages industries. Huge investments in the food processing, personal care, and pharmaceutical end-user industries create scope for expansion of the packaging market. The end-user of such product includes food, beverage, healthcare, cosmetics, personal care, and household care and industrial segment.

Moreover, metal packaging also provides multiple packaging options for gifting watches, high-value products, etc. It offers semi-transparent packaging with tinplate for luxury items; the food processing industry is also on the rise with requirements for tinplate containers for packing fruit juices, cut vegetables & fruits, meat products, fish, etc.

Above and beyond in the current times, Covid-19 is further creating more opportunities for the packaging of food products for longer shelf life, as per retail association reports. Considering the market is already favoring the industry in terms of demand. Still, much is dependent on government policies. As soon as it becomes favorable, it will surely pin a promising future for the Indian metal packaging industry.

MCMA has urged the government to put on hold the implementation of Steel and steel products Quality Control Order dated 17 July 2020 Norms. This order mandates BIS Certification on the significant input required by the industry, like tinplate and tin-free steel. It imposes restrictions on steel products like easy-open ends, peel-off ends, which the industry imports from several foreign countries.

MCMA requested from the Ministry to allow the use of materials that are aligned to ISO. The association has also requested the ministry of steel to use ISO certification materials and BIS certified material. The same has been included in the FSSAI order and also recommended by the Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME).

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