After oil and gas, cereals and some metals, German industry is now warning that another imminent shortage is looming: that of soot, or as the tire industry more elegantly calls it, “carbon black.”
Car tires consist of about 40 percent natural and synthetic rubber, 30 percent soot as a filling material — which also gives tires their color — along with the rest consisting of structural materials such as steel and synthetic fabrics and fibers.
German rubber industry experts are warning of production restrictions due to the absence of soot from Russia.
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Manufacturers of rubber products, including tires, hoses and seals, are also aware of the consequences of the conflict in Ukraine, the German Rubber Industry Association (WDK) said. Automotive suppliers may be particularly affected.
“Carbon black is an essential material for our production, and more than a third of this material comes from Russia,” said Boris Engelhardt, the CEO of WDK.
“If Russian deliveries are delayed, and they are lagging behind, European capacities will not be able to meet demand,” he added.
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Procurement of carbon black, and other raw materials and consumables from outside Europe is being partly hindered by short delivery deadlines in the industry, and partly due to scarce transport capacity.
According to the Rubber Industry Association, companies are unable to pass on rapidly rising production costs to customers and some companies in the industry have already ceased production in Italy and France. In Germany, too, it is only a matter of time before the factory doors are closed.