Paper shortage and self-adhesive labels: what is happening?

What we are experiencing is a moment of great instability in the markets where the procurement of raw materials becomes more complex every day and with continuous increases in the prices of materials, energy, gas, transport and more. The paper shortage did not spare anyone and the repercussions on the world of printing and typography were inevitable. This is a one-of-a-kind crisis that we did not expect would involve so many problems. Let's see better what it is!
After the Covid-19 pandemic, the cost of energy, transport and raw materials have undergone a constant increase in all sectors, and that of printing has not been outdone. All this had a significant impact on production and deliveries and generated many difficulties beyond our control.
Paper has cost as much as 70% more than at the end of 2020. Many companies have been faced with an inability to meet customer order requests and many paper manufacturers have stopped producing while waiting for a better situation.

Delays in deliveries are intensifying and to cope with the crisis we have had to anticipate, reinforcing our warehouse. We are reacting with a medium-long term planning for the purchase of supplies and “studied” management of stocks to continue to actively respond to the orders of our customers. However, we are subjected to continuous revisions and rescheduling of paper orders, even those already confirmed most of the time, and prices are constantly updated from week to week.

How did we come to this?

The paper shortage is a symptom of global problems, a succession of chain events, which have led up to today. First of all, the Covid-19 emergency resulted in an almost total block of some productions and significant closures, even prolonged ones, followed by a period of rapid recovery at full speed. The demand following the lockdown periods was so high that it caused an immeasurable purchase of raw materials, and therefore a supply crisis, which the logistics sector was unable to keep up with. The result of all this is that the raw material used to produce paper is now in short supply and what is there is considered precious for this reason the cost of cellulose has increased.
Now, however, the price increases in electricity and natural gas are weighing heavily on the cost of paper because this also leads to an increase in the cost of industrial processes to obtain paper. Paper mills can be defined as "energy-intensive" companies, as they need large amounts of energy to be productive. The situation is so serious that many paper producers have stopped producing while waiting for the situation to improve.

Self-adhesive labels? Not without glassine

There are reports from all over Europe of shortages of materials and severe delays in deliveries and all this is putting a strain on printers and label manufacturers in particular. In fact, to further burden the situation of adhesive label manufacturers is the lack of glassine, or the siliconized support, on which the labels are distributed. Glassine is one of the three layers of which self-adhesive paper is made, namely: paper, adhesive, glassine. The latter protects the adhesive and ensures that it can be detached and then reattached to the product.
The lack of this fundamental support is due to the state of strike that has been affecting the Finnish company Upm since the beginning of the year, one of the largest paper mills in the world, which alone produces about 40% of the world paper market, in particular than the adhesive one. To date, production has stopped; we hope that it will be resolved soon. The block led to significant delays, if not cancellations, in supplies.
The self-adhesive label represents a fundamental part of the supply chain; if the label and packaging sector were to stop, many other sectors would also be involved in a cascade. Packaging is a strategic element in the global market because it allows the finished, packaged and protected product to arrive at the points of sale, as well as with the information necessary for the consumer. For this reason, the repercussions of a stop in the label sector could be very serious, as it would cause the blocking of other production chains.


We were confident that the paper shortage would recover within a few months, but at the moment after more than a year, it is only getting worse by the day. The situation sometimes feels really out of control. In normal times, the delivery of the card took place within a reasonable time, but now we are talking about a minimum of 8 - 12 weeks from the time of the order. All this combined with the price increases not only of paper but also of other suppliers, such as manufacturers of foils, inks and solvents. 

In conclusion, there is no time to waste. Leave in time to place your order, so that we can give us the possibility to produce it and deliver it to you when you need it. We are and will continue to do our best, but we need you to do your part too :)