Packaging machinery manufacturers in Germany have expanded their worldwide machine sales $601 million in the last two years, catapulting the nation into the number two spot in the global market.

U.S. machinery manufacturers, on the other hand, have seen their share slip almost four points in that period, according to figures from the Confederation of Packaging Machinery Associations (COPAMA), a consortium of 13 international trade groups. U.S. firms still account for 27.6 percent of the worldwide market, but total sales of $5.85 billion in 2002 are $351 million lower than 2000 levels.

“The 2002 COPAMA report indicates the global packaging machinery market is back on track following a one percent drop in sales in 2001,” says Charles Yuska, president of the Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute. COPAMA tabulated $21.2 billion in worldwide sales, including $425 million by Russian firms. Excluding Russian activity, which was never part of earlier surveys, the global market grew 4.6 percent last year.

China enjoyed the second highest growth rate in terms of market share increase and absolute dollars, while Spanish companies posted the largest relative increase (38.5%) and surpassed the United Kingdom in total sales. Japanese manufacturers suffered another disastrous year and slipped behind Germany in world rank. Japanese manufacturers’ sales have fallen $662 million since 2000.