Covid-19: measures in place over Italy situation


Italian suppliers to the industry are moving to mitigate the impact of the latest government restrictions there, with the entire country now on lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Coronavirus: Italy has the most cases in Europe so far
Coronavirus: Italy has the most cases in Europe so far

Papermakers Burgo and Fedrigoni are headquartered in Italy, while others, including Sappi, Lecta and International Paper, have mills there.

Italy-based equipment manufacturers include Durst, CMC, EFI Reggiani, Sitma and Elitron.

Fedrigoni said it had set up an operating committee that was constantly monitoring the situation.

In a statement, the firm said: “We are taking specific de-risking initiative such as scenario planning to try to be as much ahead as possible in case the virus situation is intensifying and we are working on a contingency plan to secure the entire value chain, from the stock management and flexibility of our plants, to the supply chain management.”

This includes exploring the use of alternative drivers if problems emerge with existing suppliers.

The firm stated: “Despite the new and more restrictive measures taken by the Italian Government, all our Italian factories are working and fully operational. As far as our direct exposure in China: this is limited to one plant, coming from the Ritrama acquisition and some very limited direct sales mainly from Europe. In our Chinese plant, the situation is almost completely normalized with a circa 95% of the workforce that is currently productive and with a strong filling of the order book as we speak.”

UK merchant Premier Paper Group, which supplies paper from a wide range of manufacturers including Fedrigoni, said it had not had any supply issues to date but continued to monitor the situation closely.

“We can reassure customers that we are in close contact with all suppliers, and in particular, those who operate in affected regions, and will be guided by the advice that these suppliers are receiving from their regional and national governments,” said marketing director David Jones.  

“Premier currently has 40,000t of paper in stock throughout its network  together with wharf stock arrangements with a number of key suppliers, where 60 days of extra buffer stock is held for immediate call off.”

He added that substitution was usually possible if supply difficulties were experienced from any particular producer.

Engelmann & Buckham director Richard Maclean said the firm had a number of Sitma installations currently underway, and Italian Sitma engineers working in the UK have been tested for Covid-19.

“The situation in Italy was actually more difficult when it was a regional restriction. Now it’s country-wide as long as people have documentation about their place of work they can carry on. Transport companies are still OK and allowed in and out,” he said.

“And as an agency/distribution business we also have our own engineers here in the UK.”

Other manufacturers and suppliers are yet to comment formally, but Printweek understands that UK customers have been informed it is “business as usual” by a number of Italian-headquartered brands.

So far, Italy has experienced the third-worst incidence of Covid-19 cases behind China and South Korea, with 9,172 confirmed cases and 463 deaths. BA has today (10 March) cancelled all flights to and from Italy.

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