April 2, 2023

BENGALURU EXPRESS

Truth Triumphs

Ukraine war has pushed the newspaper industry to corner

E-commerce has impacted newspaper industry negatively

War has severely affected small and medium newspapers

The war may be fought between Ukraine and Russia at far away. But the war is impacting Indian Newspaper industry very badly and is pushing it to the corner.

Reason, the newsprint is imported from Russia and due to the Russia-Ukrain battle, several major global shipping companies have stopped bookings to and from Russian ports, creating an acute shortage of newsprint. The newsprint has almost vanished from the market, leaving Indian newspapers struggling to find supplies.

Another reason impacting the newsprint is the inflation of global energy prices (natural gas, coal) which constitute almost 30 per cent of the cost of newsprint production at paper mills.

Major chunk of Indian newsprint is imported from Russia, Canada and Finland. About 45 per cent of Indian newsprint import comes directly from Russia. But the Covid situation and vaccine mandates have miffed work force there resulting in strikes. This has lead to dire need for manpower.

The scarcity in newsprint supplies has directly impacted the prices. The price of imported newsprint has already doubled up between 2019 and 2021, putting not only small and medium newspapers in lurch but also the major players. To add to the misery, the prices of other requirements like inks, aluminium plates for printing, and transportation costs have also skyrocketed due to the global surge in commodity prices, exerting further pressure on newspaper industry.

It is further said that the newspaper industry has sought government for repealing the 5 per cent customs duty on newsprint, which would be of much needed succour. In the meantime, the situation is going from bad to worse, with no sign of improvement any time soon.

Owing to the tussle between Russia – Ukraine, people are feeling the pinch of increase in cooking oil price. The prices of petrol and diesel is feared to be hiked.

E-commerce impact:

Back home also getting newsprint from domestic manufacturers is a tough task. There is a supply crisis within the country too. The primary reason being several domestic newsprint manufacturers are converting their mills to produce packaging material due to huge demand in e-commerce. This has created crisis in newsprint supply.

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