Costly imports, Ukraine crisis hit India’s paper supplies

The Ukraine-Russia war has put a strain on global supply chains and while transportation of various commodities have been severely impacted, India’s paper imports have been hit to such an extent that there is a waiting period of two months for overseas shipments.

According to industry sources, there has been a 42.8 per cent increase in price of paper due to delay in supplies.

Lockdowns in China have also compounded the problem further, they added.

Before the Ukraine crisis began in February this year the price of paper was Rs 70,000 per tonne, which has now gone up to Rs 1,00,000 per tonne, an industry representative said.

India mainly depends on imported raw material for making paper.

Whether it is newsprint which is used for printing newspapers or map litho paper which is needed for printing books, the pulp strands needed for making paper pulp are sourced from China and several European nations.

Orders for both kinds of paper have been hit ever since the geopolitical tensions began, a production executive of a reputed publishing firm said.

As of now, there is a delay of around two months in paper supplies from abroad, which has led to a rise in production costs and also in the cost of raw materials, he informed.

Paper orders placed for October 2022 are expected only by December this year, the official said.

Due to the delays in paper supplies, publishers are not able fix the prices of books, he added. This demand and supply gap is expected to rise further once the new academic season sets in early next year and the demand for books goes up.

As raw material is sourced from China and Europe, the paucity of containers due to the Ukraine crisis has mainly led to paper supply constraints, industry sources informed.

Shortage of containers which are needed for supplies are not easily available due to the ongoing disruptions in Europe.

Though paper is produced in India, it is the specialised pulp strand sourced from abroad, on which its manufacturing is dependent, sources said.

So with dependency on domestically produced paper being less and imports getting costlier, the country is likely to face paper shortage crisis for some more time, as sources said that shipments may remain impacted till March 2023, even as the Ukraine war continued to rage on.

Moreover lockdowns in China, a major supplier of map litho paper, has seen paper mills shutting down there, industry representatives said, which too has led to supply gaps.

20221031-235801

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