Box makers and printing units are at verge of closer

Not possible to sustain almost 90 per cent increase in paper prices, decided to increase printing rates from 25 to 35 per cent

Box makers and printing units are at verge of closer

Ludhiana: Printers are suffering the biggest blow even verse than COVID these days. Taking in consideration constant increase in the raw material prices it is becoming a question of survival of for the Printing and Packaging industry. Offset Printers Association (OPA) called an emergency meeting today under the chairmanship of Mr. Parveen Aggarwal, President, to discuss on the issue. OPA condemn the sharp increase in the prices of raw material especially paper, plates and chemical etc. This unprecedented steep escalation of price of Paper by the paper mills is the major hurdle while consuming industries are not willing to pass on the cost making their business unviable.

Prof. Kamal Mohan Chopra, General Secretary of OPA said, more than 85% of printing entrepreneurs are micro or tiny units thus are not able to sustain the major jerks like this. After the lockdown due to pandemic which created a havoc, now the things have started improving, but the printers are facing loss of business due to the unprecedented hike in the prices of raw materials such as paper, plates and ink.  He further said, the printing industry is facing a crisis as prices of raw material have shot up by 50 to 90 per cent threatening to turn the business unviable. He further added that, in addition to the increase in paper prices, all other input cost such as manpower, laminating film, freight and other overheads have also witnessed a huge increase of 60-70 per cent in last few years. 

Speaking on the occasion Mr. Gagandeep Singh, Vice President OPA said that the kraft paper which was available at Rs. 22.50 in October now the price is quoted at Rs. 39.50. Kraft paper is the main ingredient for master cartons. Duplex board meant for card board boxes is priced at Rs. 55 per kg which was available at Rs. 38 per kg only couple of months before. The increase of more than 40 per cent is noticed in white paper and art paper etc. Rate of Art paper is increased from Rs. 63 per kg to Rs.85 per kg and white printing paper is now selling at Rs. 60 per kg which was available at Rs. 40 per kg some time back. 

Mr. Romi Malhotra Sr. Vice President said, it is not the only criteria that prices are increased abnormally but even at this price the paper is not available. I feel some unprecedented scarcity is created only for the purpose of earning more money by increasing the rates otherwise, there is no reason for this increase at this time.

Mr. Manoj Verma said, it is seen that over the past about five/six months the Paper Mills in the country have exponentially increased their prices. This sudden and unnatural spiralling increase in price of basic raw material “Paper & Board” has caught the printing industry unaware. Mr. Verma added that Printing is an intermediary industry and most of the printers are operating in micro sector and also bound to abide by the contracts and tenders signed with private and various government agencies. Printers are stuck between manufacturers who increase the prices of raw material without any consideration and customers who are not willing to pay the additional costs demanded by the printers, due to the increase of raw material. This will seriously impact the Publishing and Packaging Industry.

Prof. Chopra added that the rates are increased by the mills, with immediate effect, without giving any buffer time or a notice. Whereas printers’ are supposed to supply the goods at the quoted rates calculated at the time of receiving orders. Thus printers are suffering huge losses, the paper mills must be cautioned that increase if any, must be intimated at least one month in advance. Prof. Chopra further said that in accordance with the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 (No 10 of 1955), 2 (a) (vii) paper, including newsprint, paperboard – and straw board comes under ‘Essential Commodities.’ We feel this law is not being implemented properly. We wish that government should intervene, to oversee its strict implementation. It will help in improving the quality and the rationalisation of rates. I feel the government will take note of it and will take strenuous steps to stop stocking and artificially created scarcity and will persuade the mills to give notice before any increase in the prices.  

Taking in consideration the unprecedented increase in the prices of raw material the house unanimously decided for an increase of 35% in master cartons/corrugated boxes and 25% in all other items such as printed goods and card board boxes etc.