World events are causing a great deal of upheaval in global markets, affecting consumers and business.

The consumables and columns market is no different. As a result, we have already seen some suppliers accelerate 2022 price increases into the end of 2021. This increase is due to the ongoing pandemic and multiple macroeconomic factors, which created raw material shortages and supply chain issues that look set to continue into 2022.

The timing of the increase reflects the urgency and scale of the financial costs involved. Specifically:

  • Raw material cost
  • Labour shortages
  • Increasing transportation & logistics costs

Raw Material Costs

Due to events of the last two years, many raw materials are experiencing unprecedented shortages, causing supply chain issues and price increases. COVID-19 and adverse weather have combined to create a number of issues around the supply of integral end products such as steel, plastic, and chemicals. 

The Texan ice storm of January 2021 caused semiconductor plants to close, which are essential for car manufacturers around the world. This, plus a lower demand for cars due to lockdowns, caused car plants to close, which had a profound impact on steelworks which were also forced into closure. Resultantly, the price of steel doubled in 2021, compared to 2020. The same storm caused the closure of countless oil refineries too, which impacted the production of global plastics. Combined, the scarcity of steel and plastic led to problematic packaging shortages, meaning it costs considerably more to send out parcels; in some cases, meaning orders could not be fulfilled at all. 

The lab products themselves were hugely impacted by widespread and necessary lockdowns in China and India, which were ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic. China is by far the world’s leading exporter of chemicals, so this had a substantial effect on worldwide chemical supply chains. 

Now, these industries are left trying to catch up with the pent up demand. Plastics and chemicals prices are at an all-time high, up 70% in some cases, due to this surge in demand and the reduced production capacity.

Labour Shortages

On top of demand increases and raw material shortages, the labour market has also taken a hit. Between layoffs and lockdowns, the cost of hiring has ultimately increased. This has affected many sectors; however, shortages of HGV drivers, forklift operators, and factory workers have likely been particularly damaging in the world of analytical chemistry. As well as leading to price increases, lead times and deliveries have also been affected as manufacturers face the challenge of meeting increased demand.

Transportation & Logistics

Finally, transportation and logistics costs have been driven upwards by a variety of factors. The pandemic has created imbalances in production and demand, necessitating intermittent lockdowns. This has had an impact on capacity on shipping routes, which was further exacerbated by the well-documented blockage of the Suez canal by shipping container Ever Given in March 2021. This then accounted for a global shortage of shipping containers too (plus, the scarcity of steel makes it harder to build new ones) which gravely impacted UK markets. The World Container Index has risen fourfold versus the same time last year, as well as increasing lead times. 

Prices Rises

While we wish it wasn’t the case, it’s not hard to see why price increases have accelerated. At this stage, it has not been confirmed whether any further price changes will occur in 2022, but we are committed to supporting all of our customers with high-quality products and services. 

Please contact your local representative should you wish to discuss any options available to mitigate these price changes.