Plastics materials firms worldwide are joining other industries tracking the impact of the coronavirus, with one U.S.-based firm already expressing concerns about the impact of the outbreak on transportation.
Dow Inc., a plastics and chemicals giant based in Midland, Mich., "is monitoring the situation carefully, [but] at this time, there is no indication of an interruption to normal business operations," a company spokesperson said in an email to Plastics News.
The spokesperson added that Dow "is taking prudent steps and has implemented comprehensive preparedness plans at the corporate, geographic, site and functional levels to mitigate possible impacts." These plans address various scenarios in relation to customers, suppliers, businesses, employees, feedstock and energy supplies, production operations and supply chain.
Officials at resins and compounding leader LyondellBasell Industries "are actively monitoring the situation and are taking the appropriate actions to protect our people and our assets," a spokesperson said.
"At this time, 100 percent of our employees are virus free, and we are not aware of the coronavirus situation impacting our ability to meet our contractual obligations and deliver products to our customers," the spokesperson added.
Teknor Apex Co., a leading compounder based in Pawtucket, R.I., cited transportation as a key element that might be affected by the outbreak.
"The biggest operational concern we are seeing is in transportation, with limited vessel activity, container availability and equipment," Teknor officials said in a statement sent to Plastics News. "Ports are congested with backlogs and cargo transport is under-staffed due to quarantines and the limited mobility of the workforce in China."
They added that Teknor "will consider further measures, as the situation warrants, to promote the safety of our employees and support our customers' need for an assured supply."
"Our employees' health and safety remains our first priority, and all measures to protect and control the virus are being observed," officials said. "As this is an evolving situation, we have introduced specific travel restrictions for our employees, until there is more clarity from the [World Health Organization] and [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention].
"All business will be conducted and supported remotely, or from our regional offices, to the best of our ability. We are happy to report that at this time no Teknor Apex employees have contracted the virus."
Currently, through alternate sources and planning, Teknor has maintained a positive supply position that supports business continuity. The firm's production site in Suzhou, China, is up and running with more than 80 percent of its staff and plenty of capacity for orders, officials said.
A spokesperson for global color and additive concentrates leader Ampacet Corp. told PN that the firm "has analyzed the potential supply chain impact of the coronavirus and taken proactive measures to ensure the consistent supply of China-sourced materials necessary to produce our masterbatch products."
"We continue to monitor and will take all actions necessary and available to minimize disruption to our operations and our customers' material supply," the spokesperson for Tarrytown, N.Y.-based Ampacet said.
In an email, a spokesperson for global acetal resins leader Celanese Corp. of Dallas said that "at this point in time, we do not foresee any major disruption of supply to our customers."
Plastics and chemicals makers Covestro AG and DuPont Co. previously said that production at their Chinese production plants has been reduced because of the impact of the virus. Both of those firms also have made large donations of medical supplies to virus relief efforts.