MOSCOW (MRC) -- Italy, which has become a major hotspot in the COVID-19 pandemic, has given its plastics machinery making sector the green light to continue building machines, said Canplastics.
A decree of the Italian President of the Council of Ministers (DPCM) issued on March 22 gives all Italian manufacturers of plastics and rubber machinery permission to continue their activity, since they belong to a production chain defined as necessary.
But as noted by the Italian trade association Amaplast, such factories will have to comply with a protocol signed on March 24 both by Government and social parties that lists all the measures that hinder and limit the spread of COVID-19 infection inside and outside the work sites and keeping the safety and the health of people involved in the production cycle as a priority.
"Moreover, companies are asked to give a sign of discontinuity as compared to the past, thus limiting production activity only to those units which activity is really essential,” Amaplast said in a March 23 statement. “As a consequence, workshifts will also have to be re-scheduled, based on real necessities."
"As for the supply of materials and components, a few delays are now being registered but – at the moment – they are not affecting the the standard execution of production,” Amaplast said. “Similarly, deliveries of machinery and customers’ assistance are going on as usual."
As of March 23, Italy has reported a total of 6,077 deaths from the coronavirus, with a total of 63,928 cases of infection reported across the country.
As MRC infromed earlier, Italian oil major Eni continues to operate its domestic refineries and power plants in northern Italy normally. Despite sending home staff at its headquarters in Milan as local coronavirus cases mount. All Eni employees based in the company's San Donato Milanese and central Milan offices were asked on Wednesday to work home until February 28, the spokesman said. He declined to say if any actual or suspected cases of coronavirus has been identified at the sites.
As MRC informed earlier, Italy’s Versalis (part of Eni) took its cracker in Dunkirk, France offline in early September, 2019, due to a fire which broke out at the company’s petrochemical plant. Local media sources also reported that the fire was brought under control with no reported injuries. The cracker has a production capacity of 380,000 tons/year of ethylene and 95,000 tons/year of propylene.
Ethylene and propylene are feedstocks for producing polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP).
According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 2,093,260 tonnes in 2019, up by 6% year on year. Shipments of all PE grades increased. PE shipments rose from both domestic producers and foreign suppliers. The estimated PP consumption in the Russian market was 1,260,400 tonnes in January-December 2019, up by 4% year on year. Supply of almost all grades of propylene polymers increased, except for statistical copolymers of propylene (PP random copolymers).