VIRUS: Printers in red zone struggling to work

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Print businesses in the areas most affected by the coronavirus Covid-19 are struggling, unable to get consumables in and jobs out, in what could be a precursor for the situation in Australia if lockdown is ordered.

Coronavirus: Print impacted
Coronavirus: Print impacted

In Italy printers in the area that has been ordered to cut itself off, the so-called red zone around the main town of Codogno, are reporting jobs being unable to be delivered. They are also struggling to get consumables, as no commercial deliveries can get through the cordon. Italian news media Stampamedia reported local printer Printall saying the lockdown has caused problems, a spokesman saying “We have jobs to ship. Some are urgent and if we can’t find a way to deliver them to customers we will have to destroy them.” 

With today's just-in-time manufacturing and same or next day delivery of consumables any restrictions on movement imposed by the Australian authorities would mean many print businesses not having the ability to print.

The area impacted in Italy does not house any of the country's large printers, but it is only 50km away from the country's major industrial and commercial city Milan which houses many significant print companies. Codonga sits in the middle of the industrial heartland of Milan, Bologna and Turin.

In South Korea the epicentre of the virus is in Daegu, a special economic zone and home to many print businesses, which is now under strict restrictions of movement, impacting on production.

Wuhan in China where the virus began, and which has seen the most cases, is home to hundreds of print business, most with a turnover of less than $10m, but with a dozen who have sales between $30m and $80m, and two with sales revenue of $360m-$380m. They have all been in lockdown for three weeks.

The silver lining could be for print coming back to Australia, there is as yet no ban on Chinese or Korean imports but purchasing managers here would want the guarantees of delivery that are now unavailable. The Chinese authorities have said they will have the virus under control by the end of April, but not everyone is convinced this will be the case.

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