The German aluminium industry is grappling with energy supply issues and global competitiveness, despite the European Parliament’s decision to include aluminium in the list of Strategic Raw Materials under the forthcoming Critical Raw Materials Act.
According to a survey conducted among industry members, more than half of the participating companies still find themselves in a challenging situation concerning energy supply and pricing in the energy markets. Additionally, one in seven companies reported that their energy situation had worsened, and 40% anticipate further negative impacts in the months ahead.
A significant concern expressed by three-quarters of the respondents is the low or very low competitiveness of Germany as an industrial location, with none rating it as high or very high. Among the measures taken by these companies to navigate the crisis, 31% have implemented short-time work, 37% have reduced capacity, 18% have downsized their workforce, and 8% have relocated some production processes abroad.
Rob van Gils, the president of the industry group, emphasized the importance of recognising aluminium’s role in the Green Deal and called for decision-makers to consider this as they proceed with the legislation. He noted that while aluminium is essential for sustainability initiatives, the German aluminium industry is facing a significant downturn in orders, which contradicts the goal of a greener and more resilient Europe.
Van Gils also highlighted the global concentration of primary aluminium production in China, Russia, and the Middle East, emphasizing the importance of addressing the security of supply in Germany and Europe. He urged policymakers in Berlin to find solutions to the industry’s challenges until green energy becomes widely available and affordable.
Furthermore, Aluminium Deutschland drew attention to the shortage of post-consumer recycled materials for use in the aluminium packaging sector and called for industry-wide efforts to make these materials more accessible.
On a positive note, the International Organisation of Aluminium Aerosol Container Manufacturers (AEROBAL) reported a 6.6% increase in its members’ global shipments of aluminium aerosol cans, totaling just over 3.2 billion units in the first half of 2023.