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.
“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.”