More supply woes as ceramics industry hits ‘crisis’

A crisis in the ceramics industry caused by the disruption to the supply of white clay and soaring gas prices is impacting an already fragile supply chain and has led to the cancellation of a key industry trade show.

The organisers of the 2022 Cevisama ceramics and bathroom fair have announced the cancellation of the event due to “a critical situation in the ceramics sector”. The fair was to have taken place in Valencia, Spain, from June 13 to 17, but has been postponed until February 27 to March 3, 2023.

The fair had already been postponed from February because of the sixth wave of the coronavirus in Spain, and it has been postponed again, say organisers Feria Valencia, in view of the “huge uncertainty and unpredictable outcomes following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine”.

Feria Valencia said that in addition to the problems caused earlier by the pandemic, the war has exacerbated the energy crisis that ceramics manufacturers have been having to deal with since the middle of last year. The war has caused gas prices to increase sharply, which has hit the gas-intensive ceramics industry hard. This has already caused stoppages in production and adjustments in working practices in the form of furloughs.

The organisers also pointed out that the war in Ukraine has also interrupted the supply of white clay to the ceramics industry as a whole, alongside the increases in raw materials costs. It has also meant that Ukraine has lost the Russian market, which is its 12th largest.

The organisers said that even though there has been a very positive response to the fair, with 25% more visitors having pre-registered than for previous editions, exhibitors had been pulling out of the commercial showcase to the point that it was no longer sufficiently attractive to warrant the fair taking place.

In a statement, Cevisama director Carmen Álvarez said: “We are very sorry for the problems the cancellation may cause, but what we have is an emergency situation that has arisen and that is preventing us from going ahead with the industry’s grand regrouping we were so looking forward to. We do not want to let down the trade visitors who come every year from all over the world.”

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