RESTON, Va. — US packaging machinery shipments in 2010 were up 12 percent from 2009, bringing the shipments’ total to $5.5 billion, up from $4.9 billion the year before, according to the latest Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute’s US Packaging Machinery Shipments Report.

Exports, as measured in US dollars, increased 9 percent, from $891 million in 2009 to $975 million in 2010,while imports were up 13 percent, from $1.17 billion to $1.32 billion.

In recent years, the packaging machinery market has reflected trends in the general economy, said Charles Yuska, president and CEO of PMMI. "In 2008, shipments were generally flat from 2007, and 2009 shipments dropped by about 16.3 percent,” he added. “The increase in 2010 shipments mimicked the slow economic recovery, however, preliminary data shows significant growth in 2011."

The study states food, beverage and pharmaceuticals/medical devices accounted for 70 percent of dollars spent on packaging machinery. "The proportions between market niches are consistent with what we've seen since 2004: Food is the largest market, then beverage, then pharmaceutical and medical," Yuska said. "Together, they average out to about 70 percent of the market."