3 ways the crisis in Ukraine could affect paving and how you can plan aheadDarwyn Rabey
The ongoing crisis in the Ukraine and subsequent sanctions imposed on Russia is already having wide-reaching global implications. As we look ahead to the future, we thought it important to keep our customers abreast of how the war in Ukraine could affect the paving industry and how any potential changes could impact porcelain customers.
Does the porcelain paving industry use clay from Ukraine?
In short, yes. 30% of the world’s clay reserves lie within Ukraine and the country exported over 2.5 million tons last year. Many factories across Europe use Ukrainian clay with some factories 100% reliant on it. At Caledonian Stone, we actively work to source clay local to our factorie s whenever we can so will not be as affected as some within our industry. But, it’s worth noting that a lot of white clay comes from Ukraine and this is harder to find locally. White body, interior tiles are likely to be most affected.
Why is clay important in the production of porcelain?
Porcelain is made from firing clay at high temperature over 1200 degrees, this is what gives it its strength and low porosity (which is what makes it so easy to maintain).
1. The crisis is likely to affect porcelain supplies
Most factories will have clay in stock for the next few months (generally speaking, factories have anywhere between 1-6 months stock) but there is virtually no doubt that the crisis in Ukraine will eventually cause disruption across the market with supply starting to lag behind demand and potentially severe stock shortages.
2. The war in Ukraine could affect the quality of porcelain
As factories look further afield for their clay resources and demand surpasses supply, we could start to see variance in quality (including colour and strength). At Caledonian Stone, we are committed to holding our quality to the highest standards and our 10-year guarantee should offer our customers the peace of mind they need during this turbulent time.
3. The war in Ukraine is likely to affect the price of porcelain
Unfortunately, it’s almost a guarantee that the ongoing crisis will lead to cost increases in clay and porcelain factories, meaning many factories will pass additional costs on to suppliers. The industry is likely to see far-reaching price rises in the next couple of months. Add this to the huge rises in gas prices (which are exacerbated by sanctions imposed on Russian goods) and the industry is likely to witness increased production costs across the market.
How can you prepare for potential challenges in the porcelain market?
For savvy contractors and landscapers, there are ways to avoid the worst of these disruptions but it’s important to stay ahead of the pack. Here’s how we’d suggest you avoid price rises, long waits and lower quality.
– Order in advance
The industry hasn’t fully felt the effects yet so right now, the changes are minimal. We’d advise getting ahead. If you know you’ll be working with porcelain in 2 months’ time, place your order now. At Caledonian Stone, we can hold stock for customers for up to 3 months to help them prepare in advance.
– Let your customers know what’s happening
It’s a good idea for contractors and landscapers to allow a percentage in quote for increases in pricing. No one wants to raise the price midway through a job but if your customers know ahead of time that this could happen, they’re likely to be much more forgiving.
– Stay in contact with your supplier
If you’re concerned with how this will impact an upcoming job, speak to your supplier. At Caledonian Stone, we’re aiming to stay ahead of the curve and can assure you that we’re working to keep any possible price rises to an absolute minimum.
Want to know more? Get in touch with a member of the team today.