Global raw materials shortages continue to plague resin manufacturers
Global supply chain shortages for many key raw materials have been impacting resin flooring manufacturers since the end of 2020 contributing to sharp price increases and supply bottlenecks and further compounding the already existing pressures caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
These issues are due to many diverse factors including core chemical material supply problems, forced shutdowns due to industrial accidents and severe weather conditions, mandatory factory maintenance shutdowns and lack of labour due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Some manufacturers are experiencing additional friction and costs caused by Brexit and the new trading conditions the UK has with the EU where most of the UK industry’s raw materials are sourced. The situation is being compounded by a global shortage of shipping containers which has led to a sharp rise in transport costs from Asia to Europe thus further restricting supplies.
Some examples of the diverse nature of recent problems affecting the global raw material supply to the resin flooring market are as follows:
In February, the United States was hit with Winter Storm Uri resulting in disruption to power and water services and raw material supply to plants in Texas which led to a tightening in supply of bisphenol A (BPA), a crucial feedstock for epoxy resins.
During October and November, isocyanate supply in North America tightened following planned and unplanned shutdowns as the US Gulf Coast saw one of the worst hurricane seasons in years.
In November, a plant in Germany manufacturing isocyanates, mainly those used for UV stable polyurethane coatings, experienced a fire resulting in production of HDI and related derivatives used to manufacture epoxy curing agents being restricted due to force majeure.
The export of castor oil derivatives used to manufacture polyurethane resins from India where more than 80% of the world’s castor seeds are grown came to a virtual standstill in early April because of actions taken by the Indian government to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
The Construction Leadership Council’s Product Availability Working Group has issued a statement on the availability of construction products, which confirms that ‘in addition to availability and resulting longer lead times, there is an impact on prices’. The products that are most affected are timber, steel, pitched roofing, plastics, cement and surface coatings. Specific information relating to surface coatings can be found by clicking the ‘Coatings’ link near the bottom of the statement.