According to the industry association, manufacturers cannot or not fully meet their obligations and call out “Force Majeure”. "At the moment there are increasing cases of force majeures within the polymer value chain - these manufacturers cannot keep their delivery promises due to exogenous effects," writes Carolina Hupfer, head of the market and economy division of the PlasticsEurope Germany industry association, in an analysis, writes the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Newspaper ”(Wednesday edition).
"Unprecedented turbulence on the global plastics markets" is the title. Customers in many industries are feeling the consequences. In mechanical engineering, for example, Ziehl-Abegg, a specialist in machines for cooling and ventilation from Künzelsau, suffers. He threatens to run out of the plastic delivered in granular form, the granules. "We only have supplies for two weeks," announced the company. A turnaround is not in sight in the short term. PlasticsEurope Germany asked its members about this. Result: “A quick end to the tense supply situation in the polymer industry is not in sight. Market experts expect that the situation will only improve at the end of 2021. "
There are a number of reasons for the bottleneck, as PlasticsEurope Germany explains. The pandemic initially suggested falling demand, and plastic suppliers reduced their inventories in the first quarter of 2020. But the demand for mass-produced plastics increased from all industrial segments, which has led to a shortage on the market since the middle of last year.
In addition, there is the need for certain polymer raw materials for personal protective equipment against corona. The pandemic is reducing the productivity of chemical and plastics plants - because staff with symptoms suddenly have to be quarantined. Finally, manufacturers mention the incident in the Suez Canal in March when a container ship blocked one of the busiest trade routes. Industrial customers also report that plastics manufacturers gave them the weather as a reason.
Indeed, a hurricane last summer and a storm in February affected the operation of petrochemical plants in the southern United States. They produce essential preliminary products for the plastics manufacturers.