Rising energy prices are significantly affecting the packaging industry's paper and cardboard supplies. Some Finnish paper mills have even shut down, and, in France, some stopped production last week. "The current situation is dramatic," says Johan de Neef, managing director of Smart Packaging Systems in Belgium.
"We supply solid board to customers like gardeners. They haven't planted because of the high gas price. That industry has a -2 to +2% margin. It's an understatement to say the sector is in huge trouble, and the price hikes are pummelling it."
"We're an integrated company. So, since we have sufficient raw materials available we, luckily, haven't yet had to turn anyone away. Our revenues have taken a bit of a hit due to the slightly lower demand. Then again, we were very busy. The big question is, where are paper prices headed? We still do monthly quotes, at most. Contracts for several months are, unfortunately, presently out of the question. Prices could well climb more, though we can only guess how far. We're taking things day-by-day at the moment," Johan concludes.