Raw material shortages precipitate price volatility

Raw material shortages precipitate price volatility

EFIBCA (the European Flexible Intermediate Bulk Container Association), based in Bad Homburg, Germany, in April reported that a shortfall in supplies of raw material from which bulk bags are fabricated was having a negative impact on FIBC manufacturers. According to IK (the German association for plastics packaging and films, to which EFIBCA is affiliated), the industry in the early part of the year was experiencing many instances of raw material suppliers reneging on their contractual obligations towards manufacturers of FIBCs and other types of plastics packaging. In some instances confirmed deliveries had to be cancelled by the supplier altogether. When deliveries were fulfilled they were almost invariably coupled with significant price rises.
Apparently the sudden shortage resulted from a string of force majeure declarations by some of the primary polymer suppliers to the European market. Many of the force majeure cases registered by raw materials producers in Europe reportedly lacked detailed information and left many questions unanswered. ‘Force majeure’ is a standard yet restrictive clause found in supply contracts which exempts companies from fulfilling their contractual obligations owing to unavoidable external forces. For small and medium-sized FIBC manufacturers raw materials can account for 60-70% of total costs. www.efibca.com

Fig C

An EFIBCA dinner reception held last year in Düsseldorf at the time of the interpack exhibition; pictured, standing, are EFIBCA president Oliver Grüters and general secretary Dr Isabell Schmidt

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