Flint Group packaging comments on current ink & coating supply chain challenges for India, Middle East & Africa

By: Flint Group on 14 December 2021

Flint Group Packaging, a leading provider of print consumables and equipment for the global packaging industry, has commented on the unprecedented supply chain volatility being experienced in its India, 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 all 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. Factory shutdowns in China, as a result of the Chinese Energy Reduction Program, have compounded the supply and pricing situation.

“With respect to Petrochemicals including UV, polyurethane & 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 e-commerce demand is driving a tight supply of corrugated boxes and inserts. Material allocation, production delays, feedstock Force Majeures, and labour shortages, are all contributing to packaging cost increases. 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.

“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 shortage of freight capacity.

“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, there remains global uncertainty regarding a resurgence of the coronavirus, changing consumer purchasing behaviours, and potential trade barriers.

“Importantly though, 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 necessary supply of inks and coatings for package printing.”

The Flint Group Packaging teams in South Africa and India welcome any discussions with their customers about the current – and future – supply chain situation and customers are encouraged to reach out to their key contacts within Flint Group.

For more information on the Flint Group range of inks and coatings, please visit www.flintgrp.com or email info.packaginginks@flintgrp.com.

About Flint Group

Flint Group is dedicated to serving the needs of the global Flexible Packaging, Paper & Board, Narrow Web and Publication industries, both conventional and digitally printed. The company develops, manufactures and markets an extensive portfolio of printing consumables and equipment, including: a vast range of conventional and energy curable inks, coatings and additives for Flexographic, Gravure & Offset applications; pressroom chemicals and printing blankets. Furthermore, Flint Group designs and manufactures digital printing presses for labels, corrugated packaging, document and commercial applications. The company is a leader in colour management solutions which are supported by a Global Colour Centre to ensure colour consistency and standardisation. Flint Group strives to support its customers through a relentless focus on developing: innovative products, exceptional levels of service and the security of supply. Headquartered in Luxembourg, Flint Group employs some 5,600 people. Revenues for 2020 were €1.5 billion. On a worldwide basis, the company is the number one or number two supplier in every major market segment it serves. For more information, please visit www.flintgrp.com.