Printing and Packaging Industry

PRINTING SECTOR

After the regaining of Latvian independence in 1991, the field of printing started to develop very quickly. Several printing houses from the Soviet times were privatized and lots of new printing houses were established. During the last few years, graphic companies have prepared for the increasing level of competition in the media market.

Today, there are more than 300 printing companies in Latvia, however only TOP 10 of them contribute approximately 64% of the industry’s turnover. The total output of the sector reached EUR 385 million in 2016, which is 5 % of the total output of Latvia’s manufacturing industry.

The fastest growing segments are books, packaging materials and label printing.

The long-term increase in printing production volumes has provided export potential for the sector, which is what the sector’s further development depends on. That development is strongly dependent on the economic situation in global export markets, as the domestic market is developing relatively slowly.

Latvia joining the EU in May 2004 encouraged and simplified foreign trade and communications. Exports from the Latvian printing industry have increased, and this trend is still continuing. After the global economic crisis, pre-crisis export levels were regained and even exceeded by 2010, bringing positive signals to the sector.

In 2016, export volumes reached 79 % of the sector’s total output. Currently, the proportion of exports is continuing to grow. The key factors influencing the sector’s competitiveness in foreign markets are high quality, short delivery times and cost effectiveness.

Today, the largest export markets are Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Russia, Finland and Poland. The main export products, such as books and magazines, go to Western Europe and Scandinavia, while labels and packaging tend to be for eastern markets. Latvian printing and packaging companies are strong competitors in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, with high-quality packaging and labels. Prestige and printed materials with added value include art books, illustrated magazines, guidebooks, and packaging for foods, perfumery and medicines. Latvia ranks second in Europe in the export share of books, with export value being 80 %.

PACKAGING SECTOR

The packaging industry in Latvia has witnessed rapid development over the last 20 years. Latvian companies manufacture various types of packaging – plastic jars and containers, blister packs, labels, cardboard boxes, laminated bags and sacks, egg cartons, paper bags, PET bottles, polymer boxes, and tubes.

Great attention is paid to packaging from ecological materials, and there is a growing demand for exclusive, personalized packages for advertising purposes. Latvian companies can provide a wide range of technological facilities, manual work and unique design.

The most commonly used type of packaging in Latvia is glass, followed by polymers, paper and cardboard. Of packaging that is recycled, the most commonly recycled materials in Latvia are metal, glass, paper, and cardboard, while energy recovery mainly uses materials such as paper, cardboard and wood.

The principal packaging materials exported are products from wood, with manufacturing volumes of EUR 83 million or 43 % of total packaging exports. More than 140 companies manufacture wood packaging.

The second most important product group, with export volumes of EUR 52 million, is packaging from paper, comprising almost one-third of total export volumes. Most of the paper products are exported to Lithuania, Russia and Estonia. Around 40 companies manufacture products from paper and cardboard. Another 21 % of exported packaging is contributed by polymers. For the sector overall, the main export destinations are Germany, Estonia, Lithuania, Russia and Poland.

The management of packaging waste in Latvia is strictly regulated by the Law on Packaging (in force since 1 July 2002). The Law and related regulations issued by the government and the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development place stringent requirements on packaging producers and processors, covering liabilities and environmental protection, requirements for the management of packaging waste, packaging recycling, re-use of packaging, etc.

Latvian companies in industry 
Database of Latvian exporters

Additional information at:
Latvian Printers’ Association: www.lpua.lv
Packaging Association of Latvia: www.packaging.lv