Although the economic crisis remains far-reaching as of late 2009, the Polish plastic processing industry is in surprisingly good condition and represents the fastest developing sub-sector of the chemical industry. The following example illustrates: in 2008, the increase of production sold in the industrial processing amounted to 2.8%, while during the prior year the rate had been 13.5%. Similarly, the overall sales volume of plastic goods decreased from 13.7% to 5% in 2008. The production of polyethylene and polypropylene in basic forms doubled between 2004 and 2008 from 288 thousand tons in 2004 to 606 thousand tons in 2008. In 2008, 786 thousand tons of plastics were imported while in 2004 import of plastics in basic forms reached almost 1.5 million tons. Exports reached 393 tons that same year, while overall sales in the plastic sector together with rubber goods amounted to approximately USD 16.7 billion.
The plastic processing industry developed rapidly beginning in 1995, reaching double digit growth rates by 1997. During that year sales reached peak levels for large and medium sized enterprises, recording an increase of up to 32%. During 2000 – 2002 the rate of growth slowed, although the industry recorded at least an annual 10% growth rate. Good economic conditions returned in 2003, as the rate of growth again reached double digits and slowed down again in 2007 and 2008 as the economic crisis also reached Poland. Conditions improved also because of an increase in production capacities. In 2005 BASF opened its HDPE production facility at the Plock Refinery with an annual capacity of 720 thousand tons of polyolefins: 400 thousand tons of PP and 320 thousand tons of HDPE. According to BASF, Poland’s consumption of polyolefins amounts to 900 thousand tons per year. Although BASF exports the majority of its production, it will remain the largest supplier in Poland. Industry analysts predict that BASF’s market share will shrink within next few years, as the volume of market demand grows.
By Ania Janczewska