Riyadh – MENA Herald: Innovation strategy is emerging as a top business priority for 80 per cent of major petrochemical and chemical producers in the GCC region, according to a recent survey conducted by Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA). The growth of the sector has been largely fueled by efforts towards diversification and the adoption of technological advancements. Under the patronage of the Saudi Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Saudi Plastics & Petrochem 2016 – the 13th International Trade Exhibition for Plastics and Petrochemical Industries is organized by Riyadh Exhibitions Company and approved by UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition industry to address the industry’s focus on modernization and will be held from January 18 to 21, 2016 at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center. The fair will showcase the latest industry developments in machinery, equipment, raw materials, semi-finished products, spare parts and services.

Saudi Arabia is currently leading the Gulf region’s plastics industry, recording an approximate production of 18.4 million tons per annum (TPA) in 2013 to account for over 74.5 per cent of the region’s plastics production capacity. Saudi Plastics & Petrochem 2016 has become a sought after event as it offers the largest networking venue for petrochemical products and services in the Arab region. The highly anticipated conference is considered an ideal B2B platform allowing decision makers, influencers, industrialists, developers and other professionals within the sector to exchange market trends and updates.

A spokesperson from Riyadh Exhibitions Company, said: “The plastics and petrochemicals sector has been placing greater importance on integrating innovation and diversification in its development strategy, with the number of companies adopting this initiative doubling to 41 per cent in 2015 from 21 per cent in 2010.  More companies are following this trend to accommodate the emerging needs of the aviation, transport and food packaging sectors. In fact, it is estimated that by 2017, the region will start producing 23 plastic products, which is more than double the current number.  With such exciting developments in the horizon, Saudi Plastics and Petrochem will continue to strengthen communication channels and enhance relations among the sector’s businesses.”

Last year’s edition of Saudi Plastics and Petrochem saw the participation of more than 500 exhibitors from 26 countries, and was the only industrial fair supported by the Saudi Industrial Property Authority (MODON). The event cements Saudi Arabia’s position as the largest exporter in the region and the 14th largest worldwide, with the country representing 59 per cent of total GCC petrochemical exports. Saudi Arabia has also established a strong industrial base beyond oil refining and exports, followed by Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, UAE and Bahrain.

The UAE petrochemicals industry in particular comprises 20 per cent of the country’s manufacturing sector, which is in turn 10 per cent of the UAE economy.  Plastics, also known as polymers, are responsible for 17.3 per cent of the GCC’s total petrochemical capacity. At the moment, the UAE is the second largest producer of plastic products in the GCC after Saudi Arabia, with a capacity of 300,000 TPA. At the moment, the middle class form the largest consumer base for polymers. With the global population set to expand by 60 per cent by 2030, demand is set to rise further in the coming years.

To be held concurrently with Saudi Print & Pack 2016 – the 13th International Trade Exhibition for Printing & Packaging Technologies, Saudi Plastics & Petrochemicals Trade Fair is supported by leading companies of the KSA. The National Industrialization Company (TASNEE) and Saudi Arabia Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) are Diamond Sponsors and Saudi Polymers as Platinum Sponsors.