Manufacturers of plastic packaging in Germany continue to report worsening supply bottlenecks for various raw materials. A recent flash survey among the members of the IK Industrievereinigung Kunststoffverpackungen (Industry Association for Plastic Packaging) paints an increasingly dramatic picture: threequarters of the participating companies report a poor to very poor supply situation. This applies in particular to the raw materials PP, HDPE, LDPE and PA. Within 24 hours, 75 companies participated in the survey of their industry association. “Plastic packaging manufacturers are alarmed and in great concern,” IK Director General Dr Martin Engelmann summarises the current situation. “The survey results show a clear deterioration in raw material supplies compared to the beginning of the year. And at the moment there is nothing to indicate an end to these supply bottlenecks. In addition, dramatic price jumps are weighing on the industry.“
More than 80 per cent of plastic packaging manufacturers now state that their production and thus their ability to deliver is already limited due to supply shortages. For the next few weeks, four out of five also expect this development to continue or even worsen. The increasing number of Force Majeure notifications by raw material suppliers in Germany and Europe, mostly declared at very short notice, further aggravate the situation. Eight out of ten packaging manufacturers in Germany are currently affected by one or more Force Majeure cases. “If the production of packaging comes to a standstill due to a lack of raw materials, this also endangers the system-relevant supply of the population with safely packaged food, beverages and medical products,” emphasises Dr Engelmann. “We therefore urgently appeal to our partners in the plastics producing industry not to leave the packaging manufacturers in Germany hanging in this crisis and to use all possible levers to defuse the situation as quickly as possible.”
The shortage of raw materials has caught many plastics converters by surprise: Back in autumn 2020, the industry had expected a stable supply. At the end of November, beginning of December, the shortage and increase in the price of raw materials had become apparent. The background to the tense supply situation is an unexpectedly fast recovery and demand in the automotive sector but also in other industries in Germany, a simultaneous lack of raw material imports from the USA and Saudi Arabia, which are being redirected mainly to Asia, plant breakdowns in storm-stricken Texas as well as Force Majeure declarations by raw material suppliers in Europe.