Interview: “Bottlenecks in the supply of important raw materials”
How has the printing inks market developed?
Martin Kanert: In the first quarter of 2020, the Covid-19 outbreak in Europe lead to the biggest shock for the EU economies since the Second World War. In March, severe lockdowns were gradually implemented to avoid massive infections. Despite this depressing scenario, the latest statistics of the printing ink industry were better than the previous quarters. Some product categories, such as liquid inks and overprint varnishes, have boosted sales not seen since 2017, especially in those market segments connected with packaging for food and healthcare products.
For publication inks, unfortunately the downward trend which we observe for quite some time, persists. Overall, we see that the printing inks market in Western countries continued the downward trend like previous quarters. However, some Eastern countries kept growing, even in the current crisis situation.
To what extent does the pandemic affect the urgent topics on EuPIA’s agenda?
Dr Martin Kanert
Managing Director, EuPIA
Kanert: Indeed, printing ink companies are part of the relevant infra-structure in this situation and concentrate all their efforts on mastering the crisis triggered by the pandemic, maintain production, and serve the increased demand for packaging inks, which is essential for the supply of the population with packaged food. In this situation, the ink industry has been facing bottlenecks in the supply of important raw materials for the manufacture of packaging inks; one example of this is the shortage in the supply with ethanol, the predominant solvent in solvent-based flexo inks which at times reached crisis levels.
In this situation, EuPIA’s standard topics take a backseat to a certain extent, and we concentrate on supporting our members to meet the current challenges. In this regard: the recent announcement of Germany that they intend to continue with their national printing ink ordinance comes at the wrong time, and completely ignores the difficult economic situ ation.
When will the next EuPIA Conference take place?
Kanert: Unfortunately, we also had to postpone the Annual Conference that was scheduled for March. It will now take place on 18 and 19 March 2021 in Budapest, Hungary.