World Packaging Organisation
President's Visit to Ukraine
24-27 February 2009
At the invitation of the organizers of Pack Fair and our WPO members Packers Club of Ukraine I visited Kiev in order to participate in the opening of Pack Fair 2009. This years packaging industry's international exhibition was the tenth. The fair serves the important region of Eastern Europe. Pack Fair serves the producers of food and beverage, pharmaceutical and household products in addition to building material, agricultural products and non-food consumer products.
For a South African who is used to sunny skies and hot days, flying into Kiev was a wonderful experience. The trees were still holding snow as were the rooftop of some of the buildings. The temperature was minus five and my host Dr. Valery Krivoshey guided me through the snow packed car parking into the warmth of his motor car. As we traveled from the airport to the hotel the digital boards alongside the road kept reminding us that the temperature remained at minus five.
On Monday the 23 February 09 Dr. Krivoshey took me to the University of Food Science, the rector kindly hosed me and related the history of the university. We then moved onto meeting with some of the lecturers in the engineering department. It was interesting to note their involvement in designing packaging related machinery.
The Pack Fare opening went off well with the Deputy Minister of Agriculture delivering a speech. When it was my turn to say a few words I spoke about the courage of the fair organizers as well as the fair participants. In the midst of the global recession these people showed real courage in arranging the fair and in being an exhibitor. The support for the fair was probably around 30% down on the previous year. The standard of packaging shown was excellent, particularly in view of the fact that the Ukraine packaging industry is probably only really started becoming globally competitive around fifteen years ago. I was invited to participate in interviews with two of the TV business channels.
During Pack Fair I was invited to participate in a round table discussion group. My presentation revolved around the workings of WPO and some of the issues facing the packaging industry around the world. The issue of waste collection was a key topic around the table.
Had the privilege of visiting UKRPLASTIC a world class flexible packaging manufacturer. Discussions with the president of the company Mr. Oleksander GALKIN were fascinating and enlightening. He explained to me how the transition from a controlled economy to a market orientated market took place. A tour through the factory was both exciting and challenging. Mr GALKIN'S leadership and technical prowess were clear to see, this is indeed a globally competitive manufacturing plant. UKRPLASTIC have been awarded 13 WorldStar awards.
The Ukraine packaging industries Star Packaging Competition awards ceremony took place during Pack Fair. It was a delightful affair with a high standard of packaging earning awards. Ukraine folk singers entertained us during the event.
On my last day in the Ukraine my host arranged a visit to a machinery manufacturing plant about 80km out of Kiev. The owner of TERMO-PACK was our host. This factory manufactures equipment such as filling and labeling machines. Like most business the sales volumes were down and the company had added a new manufacturing arm to their business, they now produce gym equipment. It was of interest to see a machine under construction that had been designed by the students of the university I had visited earlier in the week.
My visit to Kiev was something special and to see the work that the WPO members Packages Club of Ukraine were doing to promote the art and science of packaging was most encouraging.