The 14th Paperex 2019 show in Delhi

New exhibition halls inaugurated at Pragati Maidan

Paperex 2019 at Pragati Maidan. Photo IPP
Paperex 2019 at Pragati Maidan. Photo IPP

The 14th edition of Paperex, the biennial international exhibition and conference for the pulp, paper and allied industries, took place from 3 to 6 December 2019 at Pragati Maidan, Delhi. Organized by Hyve Group, this year’s exhibition saw participation from more than 700 exhibitors from across 25 countries, including Austria, Bangladesh, Canada, China, Finland, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Malaysia, The Philippines, Poland, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, The Netherlands, and United Kingdom.

Running concurrent with the show – World of Paper, a fair for paper, printing, packaging and publishing industries; TissueEx, for tissue products, machinery and technology; and CorrugEx, for corrugated box machinery, technology and allied industries – also saw good participation from providers of machinery and equipment, raw material for paper and board manufacturing, paper traders, printers, converters and paper packaging specialists. A platform for networking, sourcing, technology, knowledge and joint ventures from across the globe, Paperex was well attended by thousands of visitors despite the biting cold weather in Delhi. The show also held conferences on ‘Corrugated Packaging Industry – A SWOT for Future’ and ‘Paper Industry in the Coming Decade’ by Indian Agro and Recycled Paper Mills Associations (IARPMA).

The new halls at Pragati Maidan, A1 to A5, which were under construction this year, were inaugurated on 3 December for Paperex. Major exhibitors including JK Papers, Trident, Valmet, Ace Automation Engineers, Alliance Cellulose India, Archroma India, Asia International, BILT Graphic Paper Products, and Century Pulp and Paper exhibited in the new halls. However, the halls were not adequately prepared for the exhibition and, according to sources, although the halls were supposed to be entirely constructed for Paperex, the electricity and air conditioning were outsourced.

Nevertheless, exhibitors reported it to be a successful event. Mukul Dixit, chief manufacturing officer, Trident India, said, “We have been participating at Paperex since the beginning, and we always get a good response. It is more of a relationship-building exercise with our customers. Customers who visit our stand give us feedback on our products, and the issues they face then become organizational discussions. It is also a good platform to initiate new business relations. I met 20-25 new prospective customers this year.”

Kuldeep Babu, branch manager, Rudra Blades, and Edges, said, “Paperex is a good branding event for us. We participated since the beginning but discontinued for a couple of years, and now we are back this year. It is a good platform to meet our customers and get feedback from them. We may not necessarily sell, but we get valuable feedback on our products.”

Sustainability was a major trend that was observed at the show. The leading exhibitors such as JK Papers and Trident Group were showcasing paper made from sustainable sources. With the ban of plastic in India, paper packaging is gaining traction. Many exhibitors focused on paper-based food packaging as an alternative for plastic food packaging at the show.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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