Russia to increase domestic production of technical textiles by 30% in 2016

Russia plans to increase the domestic production volume of technical textiles by 30%, compared to 2015, according to plans recently announced by the country’s Ministry of Industry and Trade.

In recent years the production of technical textiles has become one of the priorities for the Russian government, especially, due to the ever declining level of profitability of the Russian industry of traditional textiles.

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The increase of the domestic technical textiles and nonwovens is also an acute need due to a recent decision of by the Russian government to refuse further imports from Turkey, because of the current tensions between the two countries, caused by the SU-24 military aircraft incident.

To date, Turkey has been one of the largest suppliers of technical textile and nonwovens, which accounted for around 17% -18% in the overall structure of imports to Russia. However there is now a possibility that Turkey may lose its share in the Russian market in the coming years.

According to Viktor Evtukhov, Russia’s Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, Russia plans to use the experience of some Arabic states, and in particular United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, which, thanks to large reserves of commodity petrochemicals, have significantly increased the volume of investments in the increase of production of synthetic textiles in recent years and even started its exports, (which are currently valued at US$1 billion per year) abroad.

Russia has its own raw materials base, huge energy reserves, as well as access to the European market, which, according to analysts of the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade, makes the development of its synthetic textiles industry a promising direction for the country’s light industry.

Despite the efforts of the state, current consumption of technical textiles in Russia significantly lags behind Western countries (by 2-3 times), which means that the industry has big potential for further growth. According to plans of the Russian government, the domestic market of technical textiles should reach about 70 billion rubles (US$1,5 billion) in value terms during the next few years. This will be achieved by the planned increase of its consumption by construction sector and other related industries.

According to estimates of the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade, at present Russia is experiencing a shortage of special protective clothing, the consumption level of which is currently 3-4 times lower, compared to the EU countries. Due to this, the segment has the potential to grow up to three times, to 220 billion rubles, that will account for 0.1% of national GDP over the next few years.

At the same time, a part of the future production is expected to be exported abroad, particularly to the countries of the CIS region.

Last year the volume of production of chemical fibres and yarns in Russia amounted to about 220,000 tonnes, while their local consumption was in the range of 410,000 – 420,000 tonnes.

The demand for chemical fibres was on average 6% higher than the level of their consumption and by 67% higher than the volume of production. The difference between these figures was partially compensated by imports. According to an official spokesman of Denis Manturov, Russia’s Minister of Industry and Trade, a person, who is responsible for the development of the technical textiles industry in the Russian government, imports of polyester fibres and yarns to Russia in 2015 amounted to almost 180,000 tonnes, which is almost by 15 times higher than in 2001.

According to his predictions, imports will continue to grow during the next few years, as at present the majority of polyester fibre in Russia is produced mainly from recycled PET bottles, obtained after recycling, and is of relatively low quality.

At the same time, the majority of high-quality polyester raw materials is imported from abroad, as currently Russia is still experiencing a shortage of enterprises, which specialize in the production of first-class polyester.

Still, there is a possibility that the current situation may radically change with the launch of the plant for the production of man-made fibre in the Ivanovo region. Planned capacity of the plant is 170,000 tonnes of polyester staple fibre and 30,000 tonnes of granulate per year.

In addition to the Ivanovo plant, there is a possibility that similar projects may soon be implemented by other leading Russian technical textiles producers, such as the BTK Group.

Last year the company, which is one of Russia’s largest technical textiles producers, commissioned a new plant for the production of high-tech textiles from synthetic fibres in the city of Shahty in the Rostov region and has not ruled out the possibility of further expansion of the plant.

In addition, Energokontrakt Group of Companies, another of Russia’s leading technical textiles producers, has recently launched its first specialized Russian factory for the production of aramid fabrics, the planned production volume of which will be announced later this year.

According to Nadezhda Kornilova, head of the engineering centre of Ivanovo Polytechnic University, one of Russia’s leading research institutions in the field of technical textiles and nonwovens, Russia’s technical textiles industry has big potential for further growth, however a lack of personnel and their poor training is currently one of the major obstacles, which restricts further development of the industry.

Galina Birina, one of Russia’s leading analysts in the field of nonwovens and technical textiles, and organizer of the Texcare Forum in Russia, comments:

“During the period of 2000-2012 technical textile was relatively small segment of the Russian textile productions, with very limited spheres of application, however the demand for these material has significantly increased in recent years, with the biggest observed from the local construction and special clothing industries. There is a possibility that Tatarstan Republic, a center of Russian petrochemical industry, is expected to be a center of the Russian industry of technical textile.”

Source: Innovation in Textiles

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