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Deadly Chinese chemical explosion pushes up global UV ink prices

Flint Group warned of a global tightening of raw material supplies for UV and publication printing inks after last month’s massive explosion at a chemical plant in eastern China that left 78 people dead and hundreds injured. 

  Jiangsu Tianjiayi Chemical plant, Xiangshui (photo - Reuters)

The blast at Jiangsu Tianjiayi Chemical plant, which produced raw chemical materials including anisole and m-Phenylenediamine, led to an immediate shutdown of all companies in the surrounding Xiangshui Biochemical Park and forced mass evacuations from nearby areas.  

Windows in buildings as far as six kilometres away were blown out by the blast, which caused a magnitude 2.2 seismic shock.

Arno de Groot, vice president procurement for Flint Group Packaging, says thousands of factories across the country have now been closed as a government investigation continues into the Chinese chemical industry.

“Government investigations and safety inspections will impact the total chemical industry in China and will not be limited to the province where the catastrophic accident happened,” de Groot says.

“The impact has reached UV and publication printing ink supply chains, as the closures affect companies that supply materials for photoinitiators and for red and yellow pigments.”

“Our hearts go out to the loved ones of those hurt or killed,” says Michael Podd, chief procurement officer of Flint Group’s CPS Inks business.

The raw material shortage will not affect ink supply for Flint Group’s customers but will cause a spike in prices, Podd says.

“Our preferred status with our partner suppliers helps us minimise supply chain disruptions, even during unforeseen crises like this one. Our customers can rely on us for an uninterrupted supply of inks, though these raw materials will come at a higher cost due to the supply/demand imbalance this event has caused.”

Re-opening dates for the closed raw material facilities remain unknown.


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