EPAL Board meeting, 16 March 2023, Prague

EPAL Board meeting, 16 March 2023, Prague

The European Pallet Association e.V. (EPAL) held its first Board meeting of 2023 in Prague on 16 March 2023.
The EPAL Board met in Prague at the invitation of EPAL Czech and Slovak Republics and summarised developments in the EPAL Euro pallet pool in 2022. One of the other focal points of the Board meeting was the significance of the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR) for the future development of the open EPAL Euro pallet pool.

Tomáš Vojtěch, President of EPAL Czech and Slovak Republics, and Milan Kovařík, CEO of EPAL Czech and Slovak Republics, welcomed the participants of the Board meeting to Prague and presented the development of the EPAL Euro pallet pool in in the Czech Republic.

The previous year’s production and repair figures for EPAL pallets are always a key point in the first Board meeting of the year. EPAL closed 2022 on a high note with new record production of more than 109 million EPAL Euro pallets (+7.55 %). Many countries reported that EPAL had been able to convince many new users of the benefits of the open EPAL pallet pool and were thus able to significantly increase market share. Production of other EPAL load carriers such as EPAL 2 and EPAL 3 pallets and EPAL Box pallets also increased. Repair figures for EPAL pallets for 2022 were almost identical to the previous year of 2021.

Alexandre Coppée, EPAL Board member from Belgium:
“The growth in production of EPAL Euro pallets by 7.55 % to 109.05 million EPAL Euro pallets is a strong indicator of the ongoing success of the open EPAL pallet pool. Having produced over 100 million EPAL Euro pallets for the first time in a calendar year in 2021, this was significantly exceeded once again in 2022. However, what is more important than new production records is the continuous increase in the number of used EPAL Euro pallets available to users. According to a conservative estimate, there are currently significantly more than 650 million EPAL Euro pallets in circulation. What is particularly pleasing is that production of EPAL pallets grew uniformly in almost all countries and regions where EPAL is represented by licensees. This shows the importance of the tight and international network formed by EPAL Euro pallet users and EPAL licensees.”

Guests at the Board meeting included representatives from EPAL Slovenija, Igor Sep and Ivan Kerec. Ivan Kerec stepped down from his role as CEO of EPAL Slovenija on 31 December 2022 after more than 20 years working on behalf of EPAL and even longer for the Euro pallet pool. He has now retired. Ivan Kerec is succeeded by Igor Sep who has served as the Chair of EPAL Slovenija to date. The EPAL Board thanked Ivan Kerec for his tremendous dedication to EPAL.

Robert Holliger, Honorary President of EPAL:
“As Ivan Kerec steps away from active engagement with EPAL, we are losing one of the people involved from the very beginning. I have a very strong memory of how Ivan Kerec and I, together with other founders of EPAL, had discussed the need for organising the Euro pallet pool on an international basis before EPAL was established in 1991. What seems evident today was a step into the future in 1991 and its importance for European logistics cannot be overemphasised. For this, and for his many years working on behalf of EPAL, all of EPAL owes Ivan Kerec a debt of gratitude.”

On 30 November 2022, the European Commission published its vision for the future of the packaging industry with a proposal for the revision of the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR). As part of the European Green Deal, the PPWR is pursuing the goal of protecting the environment, climate and resources by re-using packaging to a greater degree than currently and better recycling. EPAL has been pursuing these goals for more than three decades. The exchange of EPAL Euro pallets in the open EPAL pallet pool is an exemplar of the reuse of transport packaging. Today’s zero waste recycling of EPAL pallets already meets PPWR requirements.

Paulo Verdasca, EPAL Board member from Portugal:
“The EPAL Board welcomes and supports the European Commission’s proposal to promote the reuse and recycling of packaging. The open EPAL Euro pallet pool is an open loop system, a prerequisite for reusable packaging according to the PPWR. EPAL will therefore actively contribute to shaping the PPWR as part of further legislative work and prepare and support the implementation of the PPWR’s requirements.”

The EPAL Euro pallet pool not only strengthens the safety and resilience of logistics in industry and retail, it also helps participating companies to meet their climate protection goals. At the same time, the PPWR’s obligations with respect to reuse and exchangeability of transport packaging are also being met through the use of EPAL exchange pallets, even before the PPWR has come into force.

The next EPAL Board meeting will take place on 29 June 2023 in Amsterdam, together with the 2023 General Assembly.