Print associations rally as price hike causes strife

With paper prices on the rise, and the availability of paper and board becoming increasing scarce, there is a growing concern about the survival of print.

06 Mar 2021 | By Charmiane Alexander

Swadesh Sharma, president of the Indore Master Printers Association, said, “We, the printers, are facing an uncertain market behaviour regarding the pricing of raw materials. This started in October 2020. Today, not only the price but even the availability of paper and board is a huge challenge.”

Sharma added, “Most of us have regular orders from our clients, and they are dependent on us for their packaging needs. Now, if we can’t supply, then the dispatch of the big brands will fail. As a result, we will lose our long-term contracts, plus future orders.”

This sentiment is echoed across the country — that the past months have experienced a halt on the recovery path. And the main reason is: the unflinching nature of the price hike.

Kamal Chopra, the president of All India Federation of Master Printers, said, “Printers are facing loss of business due to the unprecedented hike in the prices of raw materials, such as paper, plates and ink.”

He added, “The printing industry is facing a crisis as prices of raw materials have shot up by 30-35% threatening to make the business unviable. In addition to the increase in paper prices, input costs such as manpower, laminating film, freight and other overheads have also witnessed a huge increase of 60-70%.”

Iqbal Kherodawala, president of the Bombay Master Printers Association, concurred, “These frequent and colossal hikes in raw material prices have struck the industry at an inopportune time. The industry was struggling and sentiment was low. I do hope print buyers will be sensitive to the tough situation that commercial printers are facing.”

Swadesh Sharma stated, “First, there was the Covid, when most commercial printers were facing a serious problem with orders. We were trying our best to survive. Now, this price hike has added a new problem. If this continues, I am afraid many of us may face a liquidity crunch.”

He added, “Some of us may have to shut down our print business.”

The Indore Master Printers Association (INMA) has issued a statement which “demands for a price increase”. In lieu of the weekly price increase, the INMA has requested all members to check their price points and “ask for an adequate price increase from print buyers across all sectors.”

Meanwhile, the Bombay Master Printers Association which has issued a similar statement has cautioned its members, “Times are bad and during such critical times, all industry members should unite and work in the interest of the print community,” Kherodawala said.

Sharma concluded, “We are struggling. These are tough times. We need help from the government to check where the supply chain is collapsing. If we are not supported, most of our units may be in big trouble.”

Price movement between October 2020 to now

  1. Prices of recycled paper, board increased by Rs 10-50/kg in absolute terms plus taxes and transportation (further Rs 8-10/kg)
  2. Prices of FBB, SBS, VAP boards increased by Rs 5/kg in absolute terms plus taxes and transportation (further Rs 5-6/kg)
  3. Kraft paper/board prices increased by Rs 14/kg in absolute terms plus taxes and transportation (same is increasing per day basis Rs 1-2)
  4. Increase in inks, varnish and pressroom chemicals has increased by 7.5-10%
  5. Overall hike in transportation/freight costs due to higher diesel and petrol prices by 25%
  6. Added expenses for SOP due to pandemic control at factories
  7. Art card, art paper, chromo paper, super fine paper, Maplitho has an increase in the range between Rs 5 and Rs 10
  8. Increase in lamination film by Rs 45/kg, and adhesives by Rs 42/kg
  9. Raw materials, such as UV resins, additives and pigments, are reaching cost peaks

(Data courtesy: The Bombay Master Printers Association and The Indore Master Printers Association)