The world is witnessing a difficult time due to the pandemic Covid-19. People across the world are in isolation and are mostly locked in their houses. With the pandemic spreading its wings in India, the complete nationwide lockdown was announced by the Government of India starting on 24th March, 2020
With the cessation of most industrial activities, the Indian paper and board industry also suffered, as it was not specifically exempted under the terms of the national lockdown.
The exception is the publication paper sector, which is allowed to continue in support of print media, which is deemed as an essential service. However, publication sector has also seen a sudden fall in demand, where either the print circulations are completely withdrawn from certain locations or publishers are forced to reduce the number of pages to half or even lesser, as they are facing tremendous shortfall in ad revenue.
Moreover, during any crisis the consumption levels of essential commodities such as food and medicines increase due to fear-mongering and hoarding of stocks. Packaging industry, which caters to these lifeline industries, is likely to witness a demand surge for FMCG and Pharmaceutical sectors, and is exempted from lockdown under the essential service category, but operating with minimal staff, and by following all defined preventive measures.
The pandemic is causing widespread lockdowns, causing the economy to grind to a halt. The rupee has already hit an all-time low breaching the 76-to-a-dollar mark, making imports still more vulnerable.
Another huge challenge faced by the industry now is continuity of the supply chain. Though the government has eased the norms to allow movement of goods under the exempted category, there are multiple challenges regarding raw materials and logistics availability for inland transport within the country as well as vessel space availability for imports from Europe.
In view of the above facts, it seems that there are tough time ahead for the paper and board industry in India.
But amidst all the gloom, the PACKAGING SECTOR catering to FMCG and Pharmaceutical industry will witness an increase in demand in the coming times. Although the actual situation and impact to the manufacturers & traders will only be known after the lockdown opens up and business resume.
Stay safe everyone!
CEO, Galgo Fine Papers