On 25 April 2022, the UK Government announced a further tranche of trade sanctions against Russia. The new sanctions, which were introduced by International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, include import bans on silver, wood and high-end products like caviar. At the same time, the government has raised tariffs by 35 percentage points on items from Russia and Belarus, including diamonds and “rubber products”. Additional duties of 35 per cent were already introduced on “new pneumatic tyres, of rubber” on 25 March 2022.
The first month of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has already revealed several consequences for mobility and the global tyre industry, as Tyrepress’s continuing coverage of the situation has shown. The resultant sanctions imposed on Russia by an international alliance and the response of multinational companies, at least 450 of which had scaled back their business in the country as of the publication of this article, will send reverberations around global economies. The tyre industry faces impacts on several fronts – higher fuel prices and further interruption to logistics chains and materials supply will have knock-on consequences for tyre sales that will unfold over the coming months. At nearly a month after the conflict began, tyre business analyst Astutus Research examines the immediate consequences for tyre manufacturing in Russia, as well as its neighbours Ukraine and Belarus. This analysis looks at the impact of events on the global manufacturers whose plants were collectively responsible for around 70 per cent of Russia’s passenger car and light truck (PCLT) output. For more Astutus Research analysis and forecasts for the global tyre business, see the report series ‘Beyond Covid-19’ in Tyrepress’s Report Shop.
Tyre recycling and product recovery specialists Scandinavian Enviro Systems (Enviro) is has noted “a sharp increase of interest in purchasing the carbon black and oil that Enviro recovers from end-of-life tyres” since the Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022. Interest has been observed “among old and new customers”, but the company has not commented on what this means in terms of specific orders.
Nynas has halted the purchase of feedstock of Russian origin. Sales to customers in Russia and Belarus have also been stopped. According to the petrochemical company which supplies tyre industry, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and “its tragic consequences throughout the region” prompted Nynas to reconsider its supplies from Russia and also sales to the country.
At the end of 2021 Ukraine’s only domestic tyre manufacturer, Rosava, hailed the strength of its partnerships with neighbouring Belarussian tyre manufacturing materials suppliers. Rosava representatives said “Established partnerships are the most effective tool for achieving common goals. Thus, our partners are always welcome to visit our company.”
As the war between Russia and Ukraine entered its fifth day on 28 February, and as talks between the Russian and Ukrainian governments were set to take place, local news reports suggested that troops from nearby Belarus were set to enter combat. The significance for the tyre industry is that, as well as obvious and tragic implications for Ukraine and its domestic tyre business, there is now evidence that the conflict’s ramifications are reaching neighbouring countries. But where does Belarussia’s leading tyre manufacturer, Belshina, fit into this picture?
Belarus-based tyre maker Belshina is expanding its portfolio of off-highway tyres to include a product suitable for mining dump trucks carrying loads of around 130-tonnes. It produced the first prototypes of its size 33.00R51 Belshina Bel-785 in February, and the tyre is now undergoing testing.
Belshina JCS reports that the project to develop 25- to 29-inch all-steel OTR radial tyres for articulated trucks, loaders and dozers working in open cast mine applications is “nearing completion”. The Belarus-based tyre maker says it has developed five sizes so far and successfully conducted in-house tests on these products. The new OTR products are now undergoing field tests both within Belarus and in other countries.
Tyre maker Belshina has been named a national partner to the 2019 Minsk European Games, which will take place in the Belarus capital between 21 and 30 June. Its involvement in this capacity is being supported by the Belarusian State Concern for Oil and Chemistry (Belneftekhim Concern).
Belarus-based tyre maker Belshina JSC reports it will be ready to commence pilot production of 25- to 29-inch off-highway all-steel radial tyres in the near future. Manufacturing equipment is currently being installed at Belshina’s industrial and OTR tyre plant; it aims to finalise the project’s first phase this summer.
Belarusian tyre maker Belshina is investing an undisclosed sum to expand its heavy tyre capacity. The project will see production of all-steel radial industrial tyres with 25- to 29-inch rim diameters begin within the main factory at Belshina’s heavy tyre plant. Plant director Vadim Nikitenko shares that Belshina intends to begin serial production of these tyres in sizes 18.00R25, 17.5R25, 20.5R25 and 23.5R25 by the end of this year.
The entry of Belarus-based tyre maker Belshina into the giant tyre market comes another step forward with the successful testing of the 57- and 63-inch tyres at quarry sites. The tyres were fitted to 360 and 450 tonne payload BelAZ dump trucks; Belshina has been approved as an original equipment supplier to the manufacturer, whose BelAZ 75710 is said to be the highest capacity haul truck in the world. Belshina reports that the results of these operational tests are a prelude to volume production.
Belarus-based tyre maker Belshina JSC reports the production of its first 63-inch mining tyre. The tyre, which has a diameter of more than four metres and weighs 5.7 tonnes, is intended for fitment on dump trucks used in quarry and mining applications. Belshina reports that the tyre’s capacity exceeds 100 tonnes thanks to its steel cord casing, and it can be used at ambient temperatures between -55ºC and +45ºC.