Members of the Polymer Alliance Zone (www.pazwv.org) — plastics industry companies operating in West Virginia — are experiencing great demand for their products across the globe. West Virginia’s plastics industry saw record export growth in 2012, accounting for over a billion dollars and over 9 percent of all state products exported, according to information released by the West Virginia Division of Commerce.
During this time period, the plastics industry was the second-largest exporting segment in the state. West Virginia plastics companies exported products to more than 60 countries in 2012. The top 10 markets included Canada, China, Belgium, Japan, Mexico, Hong Kong, Korean Republic, Brazil, Germany, and the Netherlands.
With the cost advantages anticipated by gas production in the region’s Marcellus and Utica shale fields, it is expected that the future of West Virginia’s plastics industry will become even brighter. Derivatives of natural gas — ethane and propane — are used to make plastics and comprise a major piece of the industry’s cost puzzle. As feedstock prices decline due to the newly found gas supply, the plastics and chemical industries become more competitive.
The state also boasts an available and highly trained work force. Regional community and technical college programs have been specially designed to meet the hiring needs of today’s plastics and chemical industries. Additionally, with available sites and infrastructure — including the Polymer Technology Park in Davisville, West Virginia — and an integrated transportation network via rail, river, and interstate — the state is ready to meet the physical requirements of this industry.
The Polymer Alliance Zone — an economic development organization that works to market the plastics industry in West Virginia’s Mid-Ohio Valley region specifically and to recruit plastic-related companies to locate in the state — will continue efforts to facilitate the growth of this vibrant industry.
To learn more about West Virginia’s plastics industries or for specifics regarding available sites and infrastructure, contact the Polymer Alliance Zone.