Cost-effective Packaging Solutions Drives Demands for Steel Drums

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Hamid Ayodeji

The global steel drums market was valued at US$ 7.74 billion in 2018 and is projected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 5.4 per cent, through 2027.

Research findings revealed that the major factor driving the steel drum market is that steel drums are secure, cost effective and has the ability to be reconditioned or recycled for reuse.

This ranks steel drums high in eco-friendliness and sustainability which leads to significant back-end cost savings.

The growing chemical industry, which is propelling the demand for high-capacity drums, is an important factor in the growth of the global steel drums market. The use of a fusible plug that dramatically increases the safety and security of a steel drum when shipping and warehousing flammable and combustible materials has also been identified as a factor driving the market.

Increasing demand for paints and dyes is creating more opportunities for steel drums in the global packaging market.

Steel drum manufacturers across the globe are reporting an increase in demand for cost-effective yet efficient packaging solutions to overcome the bulk packaging challenges.
As consumers’ awareness grows, inclination towards steel drums as sustainable packaging solutions is also budding. Therefore, many industrial rigid packaging manufacturers are focusing on producing innovative packaging solutions to satisfy the growing demands from the end-use industries.

The growth in intercontinental trade is also intensifying the demand for steel drums. Industries prefer steel drums over its counterparts due to their high mechanical strength. Emerging economies like China, India and Nigeria with increasing growth in the manufacturing sector and automotive fleets, are witnessing a headway in the consumption of steel drums.

Nigeria for instance, especially, the downstream sector of the oil and gas industry has a burgeoning demand for bulk packaging products such as specialty chemicals, oil, lubricants and solvents.

Many of these products can be hazardous materials and requires additional layer of internal coating which gives a high level of protection to ensure that the corrosive material does not react with the steel.

The global industry packaging standard in the oil and gas sector is steel drums. Regrettably, until recently, there was scarcity of steel drums in Nigeria as there were limited steel drums manufacturers in the country, and most operators in the sector resorted to the available but dangerous less secure – Plastic drums in packaging.
Thankfully, today, through Pacegate Limited, a subsidiary of Hana Group, Nigeria has joined the league of steel drum manufacturers in the world.

The company is operating Africa’s largest, fully automated steel drum Factory in the country. It is the first and only UN Certified steel drum factory in Nigeria. The UN approved packaging guarantees that the drums have been manufactured, tested and certified to carry precious liquid or solid which can be either hazardous or non-hazardous. The certification also confirms that the drums are environmentally friendly and with no leakages. Also, UN Certification is mandatory for the export of steel drums, which is great news for manufacturers in Nigeria exporting their materials!

In summary, closed top steel drums are available and are being used by the Oil and Gas companies for packaging their lubricants in Nigeria. For the paint sector, there are open-top drums which are used to package styrene acrylic and also to package industrial paints, which makes it easier to mix and apply for bulk usage.

The chemical sector also has good potential for steel drums. At the moment, a huge amount of chemicals packaged in drums are shipped into Nigeria. It is believed that with local content policy implementation for the upstream oil and gas sector and eventually across other sectors and awareness of the availability of UN Certified steel drums at reasonable prices, more chemicals will be produced and packaged in Nigeria.

Where dangerous materials are involved, steel drums are the product of choice. They perform remarkably well in an extensive range of temperatures, pressure, and humidity, while maintaining their structural integrity irrespective of heat and flame, without any leakage or spillage. Steel drums remain unaffected by the thermal shocks and are less likely to implode when proper work conditions are maintained, these conditions for handling steel drums depend on the contents.

Steel drums continue to be a feasible option for storing and transporting chemicals, lubricants, flammable and combustible materials and more due to their fire resistant properties. Steel drums prove to be a reliable solution to the bulk packaging needs. When strength is a factor in product storage or transport, there is simply no better material. These properties are anticipated to further propel the demand for steel drums in developing economies across Africa, especially Nigeria.

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