In this final quarter of 2018, the print industry continues to face relentless raw material shortages, worsening supply chain conditions, and new disruptions.
As a result, Flint Group has announced price increases on all offset inks and coatings in North America. Percent increases vary across product lines and technologies based on the raw materials make-up.
“The strongest raw material headwinds we face today can be grouped into four categories,” says Michael Podd, Chief Procurement Officer of Flint Group’s CPS Inks division:
1. U.S. tariffs against China. “These tariffs affect a number of key materials used in printing inks,” says Mr. Podd. The recently imposed tariffs are 10% effective immediately, and will increase to 25% in January.
2. Increased freight costs. “The trucking industry has faced driver shortages for years,” notes Mr. Podd. “The situation has worsened over time, and is exacerbated now by equipment shortages and increased fuel costs. All modes of transportation have increased in cost.”
3. Increased costs of raw materials, including crude. “Recent increases in crude costs have caused many raw material costs to rise significantly. Carbon black, pigments oils and solvents are just some of the materials impacted by this situation,” says Mr. Podd.
4. European REACH regulations. The recent reclassification of certain energy-curablerelated materials has, Mr. Podd explains, led “suppliers in Europe and beyond to look for alternative materials. Unfortunately, the alternative materials come at a much higher cost.”
All this hits an already-strained raw material supply chain, still reeling from the unintended consequences of China’s ‘Blue Skies‘ initiative and drastic supply shortages.
“Flint Group will work closely with our customers to manage through this price increase and to benefit from our preferred status with suppliers, which makes Flint Group best positioned to meet customer needs without sacrificing quality,” says Mike Green, Vice President of Sales of Flint Group’s North America offset inks.