Flint Group comments on current ink and coating supply chain challenges

Transportation of raw materials impacted due to Covid-19

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Flint Group commenting on the current ink and coating supply chain challenges in India, the Middle East, and Africa
Flint Group commenting on the current ink and coating supply chain challenges in India, the Middle East, and Africa

Flint Group Packaging, a leading provider of print consumables and equipment for the global packaging industry, has commented on the unprecedented supply chain volatility experienced in India, the Middle East, and Africa businesses. 

Upal Roy, managing director, Packaging India, Middle East, Africa at Flint Group Packaging, stated, “It’s clear that the global economy is experiencing tremendous pressure with demand for products outstripping supply. Global raw material volumes and prices, along with freight availability, are being heavily impacted. Compounded by the Covid-19 pandemic, transportation and raw material shortages are causing a multitude of challenges for ink and coatings producers in our region.”

“For a wide variety of reasons, supply challenges are occurring for many critical raw materials used in the production of printing inks, including vegetable oils and their derivatives, petrochemicals, pigments, and titanium dioxide (TiO2). These products are in short supply and causing significant issues in vendors’ ability to forecast and plan shipments.”

Pigment prices, in particular, have surged recently due to increased demand from the architectural paints and wind turbine markets. As a result of the Chinese Energy Reduction Program, factory shutdowns in China have compounded the supply and pricing situation. 

With respect to petrochemicals, including UV, polyurethane, and acrylic resins and solvents, costs for these materials have been escalating since early 2020, with some of these having demand increases outside of normal levels. 

The overall logistics situation also remains difficult. The industry continues to face shortages in steel for drums and High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) feedstocks used for pails and jugs. Increased eCommerce demand is driving a tight supply of corrugated boxes and inserts. Material allocation, production delays, feedstock Force Majeures, and labor shortages increase packaging costs. And then on top of this, the pandemic has been a catalyst for abnormal consumer purchase activity (both during and after shutdowns), causing unusual demand within multiple industries and straining both air and sea freight capacity.  

Flint Group focuses on the value of printing inks and coating

Jet fuel costs, for example, have increased as high as 8-10 times the norm, along with shipping container costs, further exacerbated by unusual ocean freight schedules and freight carriers being stranded or challenged to find ports to offload containers. Ultimately, increased demand and ill-prepared logistics have caused a critical freight capacity shortage. You can click for more information about the best logistic solution to put an end to this issue.

“It is now clear that these supply chain strains are almost certain to continue well into 2022. Furthermore, we expect container prices, raw material shortages, and cost increases to remain elevated into 2023. Even as some of these constraints ease and the recovery moves forward, global uncertainty remains regarding the coronavirus resurgence, changing consumer purchasing behaviors, and potential trade barriers.”

“Importantly though, the printing of all types plays an important role in producing the packaging that protects, preserves, and enables the transportation of food and other essential goods to consumers worldwide. The value of printing inks and coatings is clear, and our staff is committed to working together to ensure our customers continue to receive the necessary supply of inks and coatings for package printing.” 

 

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital 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.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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– Naresh Khanna

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