7: 'Everything's screwed up'
Brian Chapman, general manager of Kuraray America Inc. is blunt in his assessment of the current state of the synthetic rubber supply chain problems: "All raw materials and logistics are just totally screwed up," he said.
It takes two- to three-times longer to bring in materials from the Pacific region, and pricing of materials is triple what it was in some cases.
"It's been a struggle," he said. "The issue was already present before the freeze in the Gulf Coast, but after the freeze (it) just got worse."
Business has remained strong, which is good, except that Kuraray can't recover all it's costs.
"Competition is strong, so it's hard to raise prices," Chapman said. "Plus our customers' competition is strong, so downstream prices are low."
The time to get materials to the U.S. can be months, because there are issues at every point in the shipping process. "I don't know when it's going to fix itself. I think it's going to take awhile," he said.
Andrew Schunk, Rubber News staff, contributed to this report.