Modena, Italy — Three Italian industrial associations have voiced their concerns over the increasing costs of production and shortages of raw materials and have urged national and European officials to take urgent action.
In a joint statement, the Italian rubber and plastics machinery association Amaplast, as well as the association for ceramic machinery ACIMAC and the packaging machinery union UCIMA, said the Ukraine conflict had "further aggravated the unfavorable conditions of the market after the COVID pandemic."
"The uncontrolled increase in energy costs and the unavailability of materials result in an increase in purchase prices," said the statement.
Higher prices, in turn, can "seriously endanger production" and "block entire supply chains."
"This will undermine, on the one hand, the strong recovery underway, and on the other, weaken the international competitiveness of advanced [machinery] made in Italy," the associations added.
The machinery and equipment associations said they had previously voiced their concerns over higher prices and material shortages, but in the wake of the Ukraine conflict, "the tone of the emergency has become increasingly critical."
"The high energy prices have impacted the availability of some essential raw materials for the production of complex automatic machines," the groups said.
Some of those materials include steel and metals that largely come from the conflict area.
Added to that, operators are finding it difficult to source polymers and clay as raw materials while struggling to operate plants in war zones or neighboring areas.
"The alarm has already been raised by other sectors," said the three associations, calling on institutions for "immediate help and lasting solutions."
Amaplast President Dario Previero called for "targeted proposals" to tone down the cost of gas and electricity as well as raw materials to build plastics machinery.
"We are in the middle of a paradoxical situation. Our companies have a substantial portfolio of orders that they fail to fulfill," said Paolo Mongardi, president of ACIMAC. "The situation has reached its limit and, barring sudden changes of direction, we are approaching a point of no return."
Calling for national and European-level intervention, UCIMA President Matteo Gentili said Italy "is close to stopping" following the rise in the costs of production and raw materials, delays in the delivery of components and increases in transport charges.
"It is necessary to have a serious continental industrial policy that allows national and European manufacturing to reduce its dependence on raw materials and semifinished products from other regions," the three leaders said.
"We ask that institutions … get to work as soon as possible for a new European industrial deal that protects continental manufacturing with short-term measures … and safeguards their future," they added.