Mumbai's print associations warn of great threat due to paper problems

Industry faces a crisis of raw materials shortage and rise in paper and consumable prices. Bombay Master Printers’ Association (BMPA) and Mumbai Mudrak Sangh (MMS) reach out to buyers and consumers with an appeal.

13 Mar 2022 | By Aultrin Vijay

Prakash Canser of MMS says global and geopolitical issues are affecting the supply chain

The presidents of Mumbai’s best known associations Iqbal Kherodawala (BMPA) and Prakash Canser (MMS) have issued a joint statement to their customer partners. The statement says: "The (price hike) story has taken a serious turn." In the past few months, there has been an increase of 40-50%.

Today, the situation is grim. Many commercial print companies and converters are refusing jobs because of non-availability of paper. Some factories have been shut down because "the price of paper has made it difficult for them to operate their manufacturing units”.

Kherodawala, president of BMPA, sent out a message to the print customers, "Unfortunately for us, price hike has been attacking our businesses consistently, and we have continued to shout for help, but neither you, our customers and our government, nor our suppliers, have ever rushed to our help; on the contrary leaving us to our luck and our efforts."

Canser, president of MMS, concurred. He said, “The price increase is real. The problems faced by raw material suppliers are real. The cost of each and every input increasing every week, every month is real. Global issues and geopolitical problems affecting our supply chain are real."

Kherodawala said, “Unless the price hike stabilises, the print converters will constantly face the challenge of offered prices to the customers. We request the customers to not only understand that this hike is real, but also to be fair and reasonable when we go to them for an increase. No print converter wants to lose their customer, as we have been partners with most of them for a long time.”

He added, “We are expecting this increase to be unabated for a long time, and unless it is a win-win situation for both the converter and the customer, it will not result in a fruitful relationship.”

Iqbal Kherodawala: "Expect more price hikes"

Canser said, “It’s difficult to know why the authorities are not understanding the pain points of the manufacturing sector, but only talking about ‘Make in India’. We are discouraging imports, but not curtailing raw material exports. How can an economy run if it’s not able to meet its domestic demands? The government has to think of this seriously.”

He complained that the paper mills have been increasing prices at will, without informing the printers. “We have to rely on the prices stated by traders,” Canser said.

“Since there is no standard pricing policy, it’s difficult to assess the accurate pricing. Clients are not willing to cooperate. In fact, they still want to squeeze us. If we all are united and immediately increase prices by 30% to 40%, they will have no other choice,” Canser suggested.

Despite these problems, Indian paper mills continue to export, even though there is a boom in the requirement of paperboard and kraft paper, which is important for making corrugated or brown boxes.

The BMPA-MMS statement cited, "Due to the price increase in paper products, (and) our resistance to accept this price increase, (it) is pushing our raw material suppliers to look at exports. This is detrimental to our country and to our economy."

The statement requested the consumers and customers that "only with your acceptance, will our industry thrive, and Make in India will be a reality."

Kherodawala and Canser signed off, "Over the last 12 months, the price increase has been humongous, and we need to understand our costs before we quote. Although we value and respect you (customers), survival is extremely important; and if the situation continues to be like this, there won’t be any print converters who can survive this continuous battle of increasing prices and reducing bottom lines."

The reasons for the paper crisis

Pulp prices: Hike of USD 150 in the past 30 days has led to high input costs.

Chemicals: Due to huge shortage and commodity cycle, chemicals are selling at three times higher than 2021 rates.

Energy: Imported coal has risen by USD 80 in the last month. The paper industry relies on imported coal.

Shipment: Pulp shipments are arriving late, thereby creating raw material scar

Tags : paper, BMPA, MMS;