Ukraine War Has Affected India’s Paper Industry; Know How

New Delhi: Such is the impact of the Ukraine war on India, that its paper imports have been hit to an extent that there is a two-month waiting period for overseas shipments. News agency IANS quoted industry sources as saying that there has been a 42.8 per cent increase in the price of paper due to delays in supplies. Lockdowns in China have also compounded the problem further, they added.

Before the war in Ukraine began in February, the price of paper was Rs 70,000 per tonne, which has now gone up to Rs 1,00,000 per tonne, an industry representative said.

Notably, India mainly depends on imported raw materials for making paper. Whether it is newsprint, which is used for printing newspapers or map litho paper needed for printing books, the pulp strands needed for making paper pulp are sourced from China and several European nations.

Orders for both kinds of paper have been hit ever since the geopolitical tensions began, a production executive of a reputed publishing firm was quoted as saying. As of now, there is a delay of around two months in paper supplies from abroad, which has led to a rise in production costs and also in the cost of raw materials, he informed. Paper orders placed for October are expected only by December this year, IANS quoted an official as saying.

Due to the delays in paper supplies, publishers are not able to fix the prices of books, he added. This demand and supply gap is expected to rise further once the new academic season sets in early next year and the demand for books goes up. As the raw material is sourced from China and Europe, the paucity of containers due to the Ukraine crisis has mainly led to paper supply constraints, the report added.

The shortage of containers which are needed for supplies is not easily available due to the ongoing disruptions in Europe.

Though paper is produced in India, it is the specialised pulp strand sourced from abroad, on which its manufacturing is dependent. So with dependency on domestically produced paper being less and imports getting costlier, the country is likely to face a paper shortage crisis for some more time, as shipments may remain impacted till March 2023, even as the Ukraine war continued to rage on.

Moreover, lockdowns in China, a major supplier of map litho paper, have seen paper mills shutting down there, industry representatives said, which has also led to supply gaps, the report added.

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