Kvasilyv, Ukraine – Flexible foam makers in quiet western Ukraine want to make foam, but are being starved of raw materials by international companies which refuse to supply them.
Speaking from Poland, Artur Grzedzielski of Foam Group Holdings said that at the start of the invasion, his company stopped production of foam and furniture.
Last week, he was able to locate a tanker of polyol and a tanker of TDI in Ukraine, and started up foam production on Tuesday (16 March). 'But we ran out of raw materials earlier today,' he said.
Foam Group Holdings, which uses its own foam to make furniture, said it had successfully sent 50 trucks of furniture this week, and plans to send another 70 next week from its factory in Kvasilyv, near Rivne, 320km (200 miles) west of Kyiv.
But the foam production underpinning this, and the tax revenue it raises to help fund the Ukrainian resistance to the Russian attack, has stopped because the plant has run out of raw materials.
'The big companies decided that they will not supply to Ukraine because of the security measures. I told them, "we will pick it up ourselves with our forwarders",' Grzedzielski said.
'We and a Ukrainian distributor have escalated it within Europe and to the US. We believe that this decision is completely wrong. If they really want to support Ukraine, they need to support supply. The risk is the same for a truck as it is for a factory if it were hit. No-one came to take it [raw materials] back, when we were invaded. I can understand the logic but from the wider perspective, the risk is small, but the benefit is very high.'
In an attempt to ease the situation, the Ukrainian government has put polyols on a list of strategic raw materials that can be purchased with the country's limited supplies of hard currency such as dollars and euro.
'If companies and people really want to support Ukraine, they need to support supply otherwise it is just empty words,' he said. 'Please reconsider your decision.'