Profitability in the past 12 months
Well, our bottomline has been constant for the last two years. Technically, there has been no change in terms of profitability.
Paper grades, weights, sizes
In packaging board, every cm/ mm is important, especially to cut cost and reduce wastage. Thus, we have seen a shift from gsm-based requirement to caliper-based requirement, especially because boards are available in improved bulk. In specialty paper, demand for lower gsm is growing. Lightweight boards and papers also help in source reduction and low carbon footprint.
Chinese ban on imports
This is a positive move. As a result, consumption of virgin grade paper and board will increase in China, which is helpful to the environment. End-consumers will have the benefit of having hygienic, cleaner, safer packaging, since there will be no traces of contamination. Brand owners will have an aesthetically and functionally better packed product.
As China consumes more virgin paper, however, India will face a shortage in virgin pulp. But we will have an opportunity to manufacturer more recycled paper and board, as international waste will be available cheap. For this, we will need to start implementing segregation and collection methods, systematically and immediately.
DGAD’s anti-dumping duty
Well, this is meant only for two sizes of cut pack grades, which would impact only a few digital printers, but the new methodology which has been introduced for the first time is win-win for all, right from the mills, importers to distributors.
FSC or PEFC are mainly enablers for developed countries to be sure that the wood is from sustainable sources. That doesn’t mean that the virgin paper and boards that come from South East Asian countries are not green or could not be sustainable. We have various products for wrapping, which would be either PE or PLA or water-based coated or treated for OGR and heat-sealing during the papermaking process, which would be totally green and sustainable.
Paper recycling technology in India
To the best of my understanding, in India, very few companies have invested in recycling technologies. ITC has a programme called WOW. Certain mills in the Vapi belt have incinerators to recycle; this is because the Gujarat Pollution Board is strict. Avery Dennison has a programme to recycle its silicon release liner waste. There might be a few more but we, in India, have to do a lot more.
Paper Day plan for 2019
Together with the PTA, Mumbai, and individually as a paper trading company, we have spoken to many print converters and a few brand owners. We have sent emails and WhatsApp messages briefing them about the benefits of using paper, while clearing the misconceptions. We have also distributed green wrapping-papers to roadside vendors in our vicinity and have educated them about the dangers of using printed newspapers, magazines or foils to wrap or serve food. This year, we have implemented the project with renewed vigour and displayed various such products at BMPA’s Print Summit.
Paper appreciation drive in India
I have heard about such activities like paper labs and paper appreciation courses becoming a trend in Europe. It’s a good initiative. For this, mills and paper and associations need to work together.
Paper prices in 2019
On a very personal understanding, there will be minor corrections until March 2019. There will be an upward movement from May-June onwards, going higher until December2019.
Value addition in the face of price rise
We do try and mitigate the effect of price rise by helping customers maximise their efficiencies and add value. As mentioned earlier, controlling size wastages, source reduction, better planning of SKUs are some of the ways to mitigate the effects of price rise.
However, we do not believe that shifting to low quality grades is an option. Then again, price rise is not happening only in India, it’s a global phenomenon.
We are currently working on offering ‘live’ paper tracking services to our customers. Hopefully, in the next two to three months, we will be able to do so. In a way, our warehouses are automated, as we have a strong traceability system.
Technical team to share paper gyan
We are proud to have a team of six to seven people who are technically oriented on the parameters of paper and paper board, conversion possibilities of various papers and boards, taxation, international norms and so on.