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  • 01 Feb 2022

Union strike pressures label supply chain

Finat has warned that the continued union strike in some Nordic paper mills poses severe lead time problems to European label converters

Finat, the European association for the self-adhesive label industry, has warned that the continued union strike in some Nordic paper mills poses severe lead time problems to European label converters.

In recent weeks, reports have been received from around Europe that lead times for paper-based label materials (some 70 percent of total European label demand) have increased up to three months or more. According to Finat, some label printers and raw materials suppliers have even been forced to prioritize the allocation of deliveries among customers now that stocks of raw materials are close to being depleted.

As an essential component of the CPG supply chain, demand for self-adhesive labels and narrow web packaging already peaked during the Covid19 crisis, but with the rapid general economic revival since last year, demand for labels and packaging materials has continued to boom into 2022, as confirmed by Finat’s latest Radar report released in December.

The lack of availability of labels and packaging is likely to hit a wide range of final consumer industry sectors such as food and beverages, health and personal care, medical and pharmaceutical products, chemicals, logistics and retail, consumer electronics, automotive and other sectors, thereby harming the general economic rebound.

‘Until Christmas, we were hopeful that the supply disruptions could turn out to be a temporary adjustment phenomenon, but the present situation demonstrates the vulnerability of an entire sector already operating at the limits of its restricted capacity, from a single incident like a union strike,’ commented Finat’s managing director Jules Lejeune. ‘Given the present lead times, it is now likely that we could face these shortages for the remainder of the year, with far-reaching consequences for the general economy.

‘The past few days, I have been receiving comments from members from around Europe who are all very deeply concerned about the dependency of the supply chain on just a few key suppliers. We are calling upon all parties concerned to make every effort in ensuring a sustainable supply of label and base papers both in the short and in the long run.’

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