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At the outset I would like to thank the ICCMA Governing Council for electing me to the office of the President of ICCMA. I would count on the support and guidance of the senior members of the Council and on the fresh ideas of the younger brigade to set the agenda for my term in office. I hope for active participation of the members so that we can, together, address some of the issues facing our Industry.

Friends, we are living in very difficult times. After unprecedented disruption in our lives due to the Pandemic for the last one and half years we are now facing huge challenges in our business, even as the pandemic is hopefully, on the retreat. The pandemic led to lower consumption of corrugated boxes in USA and Europe and hence lower waste generation to meet the requirements of the Paper Industry as demand picked up. Due to disruption in international trade, shipping container’s availability became a major issue and shipping costs soared multiple times. China banned waste imports from 1st Jan 2020 and Indian paper mills suddenly got a new market to export finished paper and pulp rolls. There was increased recycling of waste in the USA and thus lower surplus for export to fiber deficit countries like ours. Suddenly there was Coal shortage, prices jumped manifold and power black-out scenarios started doing the rounds. The effect of all these saw our Kraft paper prices reach their highest ever levels.

Thus, there has been a structural and fundamental change in our Raw Material supply chain dynamics. There are so many variable factors, that it is virtually impossible to forecast the Kraft paper price and so we can expect great deal of volatility going ahead. This is something we need to live with now. The point here is that we must all be very careful before committing any sort of long-term contracts with our customers and insist on regular price review mechanism.

Over the last few months, we have seen huge increase in all our other input or conversion costs. Traditional cost formulae for cartons just do not hold good anymore. We must pursue our customers for commensurate revision in our pricing and take a prudent decision while settling the same.

On a positive note, the ICCMA Congress 2021 at Greater Noida was a resounding success. It was wonderful to meet Industry friends, face to face, after a gap of 2 years. The Marquee Keynote Speaker Ambassador Dr. Deepak Vohra enthused us with his patriotic and emotional talk that left no doubt in our minds that India is on the path to be a GLOBAL SUPERPOWER. Achieving 100 Cr vaccinations recently is a strong indicator of our country’s capabilities!! We shall all participate in India’s growth story!

Wishing you all a very Happy Diwali and a safe & a prosperous New Year.

With warm regards

Sanjay Rajgarhia

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