Explosion at Chinese chemical company to affect ink supply chain

Explosion to affect the worldwide UV and publication ink supply chain


A recent explosion at Jiangsu Tianjiayi Chemical in China is severely impacting the global raw material supply chain. The disruption includes materials used in publication and UV printing inks.

The March explosion at Jiangsu Tianjiayi Chemical spread to adjacent facilities, causing nearly 80 deaths. Hundreds of people were injured forcing thousands to evacuate nearby areas. The Chinese government forced shut-downs at the industrial park, as well as others nearby, to allow investigations and safety inspections.

“Our hearts go out to the loved ones of those hurt or killed,” said Michael Podd, chief procurement officer of Flint Group’s CPS Inks business.

Arno de Groot, vice president procurement for Flint Group Packaging said, “Thousands of factories are already been shut down. Government investigations and safety inspections will impact the total chemical industry in China and will not be limited to the province where the catastrophic accident happened.”

The impact has reached UV and publication printing ink supply chains, as the closures affect companies that supply materials for photoinitiators and for red and yellow pigments.

Podd noted that the raw material shortage will not affect ink supply for Flint Group’s customers. “Our preferred status with our partner suppliers helps us minimize supply chain disruptions, even during unforeseen crises like this one.”

He added, “Our customers can rely on us for an uninterrupted supply of inks. Now these raw materials will come at a higher cost due to the supply/demand imbalance this event has caused.”

The dates for reopening of the shuttered raw material facilities remain unknown.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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