The Schumacher Packaging Group, one of Europe's largest manufacturers of corrugated and solid board packaging solutions, is expanding its corrugated board plant in Greven, in the immediate vicinity of Münster-Osnabrück Airport, into a next-generation multi-mega plant.
The packaging specialist is thus reacting very quickly to the current enormous increase in demand for corrugated board packaging, which is driven not least by the booming e-commerce sector. In addition to an expansion of the production area by more than 20,000 sqm, two corrugated board plants from BHS Corrugated with a total production capacity of 600 million sqm of corrugated board per year will complete the expansion as early as 2022. This will make Greven one of the world's largest multi-mega plants, replacing the Ebersdorf headquarters with 350 million sqm per year as the largest corrugated board plant to date.
While the strategy of the Schumacher Packaging Group at the beginning of 2021 was still characterised by cautious investment planning due to the Corona uncertainties, the demand for corrugated board packaging has exploded in the meantime. In Greven alone, the group is therefore now investing a total of around 70 million euros in 2021 and 2022 and creating 200 new jobs. At the end of June, a 7,000 sqm expansion of the production area in Greven will go into operation. Immediately afterwards, Schumacher Packaging will build another 14,000 sqm of production space on its factory premises. Their completion is planned for February 2022. "Now, at the hopefully imminent end of the pandemic in Europe, the economic environment has developed an unprecedented dynamism," reports Björn Schumacher, Managing Director of the Schumacher Packaging Group. "As a family-run company, we have the great advantage of being able to react to market developments with the same dynamism."
Sustained boom in online trade
A major reason for the booming demand for packaging is e-commerce: in Germany alone, turnover in B2C online trade amounted to 72.8 billion euros in 2020 - a considerable increase of 23 per cent compared to the previous year's figure of 59.2 billion euros. Due to the pandemic-related closures in stationary trade, numerous consumers have covered their needs almost exclusively online. New customer groups who had not previously bought online, or only bought a little, have also joined the market. It cannot be assumed that online retail will lose those it gained through the Corona restrictions back to stationary retail. "The pandemic has accelerated the transformation towards e-commerce, and this development is proving to be permanent," Schumacher continues. "Analysts assume that there will be double-digit growth rates in online retail in each of the next few years as well."
Quickly flipping the switch
Schumacher Packaging reacted very quickly and flexibly to the changing market conditions. "Of course, we always had an expansion perspective in mind in Greven," says Björn Schumacher. "We acquired the necessary floor space in AirportPark FMO years ago. But to almost double our production capacity in Greven at such short notice, as we are doing now - that requires short decision-making processes and flat hierarchies. Otherwise, construction projects like the one in Greven often take twice as long. Our construction companies simply continue without interruption after the current 7,000-sqm expansion stage. I think it is precisely the medium-sized companies in Germany that have the flexibility and adaptability that the market needs at the moment," says Schumacher. "We had to flip the switch very quickly now for the post-Corona period. That's what we've done." The market appreciates the packaging specialist's agility and willingness to invest. "Customers honour our commitment because we open up a perspective for them. They are now increasingly concluding longer-term supply contracts with us," reports Schumacher, "which in turn means greater planning security for both sides."
Doubling of own base paper production
The Schumacher Packaging Group is also investing heavily in the supply of base paper, the raw material used in corrugated board production. "We are an integrated company," explains Schumacher. "This means that we produce a significant proportion of our raw material ourselves. This ensures a high level of supply security for us and for our customers." Schumacher Packaging's Grudziądz paper mill in Poland produces around 140,000 tonnes of raw material per year. In Myszków, Poland, the Group has also already established its own production of recycled corrugated base paper in recent years. Currently, the Myszków mill has a capacity of 150,000 tonnes of base paper per year. "We have also accelerated our expansion plans at this site because of the increasing demand," reports Björn Schumacher. "We had originally planned to double the capacity to 300,000 tonnes per year in 2023/24, but now we are bringing the expansion forward to 2022/23." The investment sum for the capacity doubling in Myszków: 75 million euros. The main sales market for Myszków, however, remains Poland. "In practice, transporting these base papers to Germany makes neither ecological nor economic sense," says Björn Schumacher. "That's why we cooperate with German paper manufacturers on a swap basis: they supply corrugated board plants in Germany and we supply their customers in Poland."
Source: Schumacher Packaging