Following a recent meeting in Warsaw, the European Plastics Converters (EuPC) group has launched the Strategic Alliance for Polymer Supplies in Europe. The Alliance was formed in response to a series of force majeure declarations (inability to meet a shipping contract) by European Union (EU) polymer suppliers, which EuPC says led to shortage of material on the European market. The EuPC says the Alliance hopes to devise a strategy to prevent a repeat of the situation.
According to the EuPC, since early March 2015, companies within the EU polymer industry have declared force majeure on 34 separate occasions and “exacerbated an already tense situation on the EU polyethylene and polypropylene markets.” The situation has driven polymer prices to levels not seen in the past decade at a time when oil prices are still relatively low, says the EuPC.
“'The unavailability of certain grades of polymers and record polymer prices have forced some converters to close production lines,” says Alexandre Dangis, EuPC’s managing director. “The situation will continue to worsen if nothing is done. EuPC members set up the Strategic Alliance for Polymers in Europe under the leadership of Ron Marsh,” adds Dangis, referring to Marsh as a former CEO of a major plastics packaging group and a guest to the EuPC Steering Committee.
The EuPC says the plastics converting industry is a major EU employer and source of growth in Europe. However, the industry needs more dialogue and long-term vision in the polymer supply chain and a prompt suspension of EU import duties on polymers, which are not being supplied in sufficient quantities in Europe, says Dangis.
“We hope that polymer producers in Europe will reinvest current margins in the aging European production sites in order to maintain a credible European polymer base to serve the plastics converters in a sustainable manner. Europe drives innovation in plastics packaging and thinking in waste management. Investment here safeguards global markets,” adds Dangis.