The coronavirus has badly affected the majority of industries in every country. However, the textile industry is among the most hard-hit sectors in Pakistan.
Tricia Carey, Lenzing’s director of global business development-denim said, “Pakistan’s textile industry is a major exporter to the world accounting for more than half of all overseas shipments.”
Carey moderated a conversation with representatives of denim fabric and garment manufacturers in Pakistan in a recent Carved in Blue webinar, check out their business status, and how they plan to navigate the challenges that lie ahead.
In late April, AGI slowly resumed business. Initially, Javed said, the key emphasis was to introduce training and awareness sessions conducted at the facility in small groups on how to perform research in a safe manner under the new guidance.
“Everyone has taken some time to get used to the laws of social distancing and the ‘new standard’ as they say,” he said. “We’ve slowly ramped up our production in the last few months and are currently running nearly 80 percent.”
Javed added that the target for July is to operate at near full strength, both on the fabric and garment side of AGI’s business. “We are pretty optimistic about the next few months,” he said.
Company in Pakistan has improved since April when the country was in complete lockdown, said Rashid Iqbal, executive director of Naveena Denim Lahore (NDL). NDL’s production runs at a rate of 40-50%, and Iqbal expects these numbers to remain steady for July.
For Azgard Nine Ltd, too, Momentum builds. Ahmed Humayun Shaikh, CEO of Azgard Nine Ltd., said the company is experiencing “a surge of orders” which he attributes to “the pent-up demand for apparel, particularly from Europe.”
Yet this flurry of orders is brief, he said. “I don’t think we should expect the pandemic to significantly raise demand because when people get what they need, it will settle down at some reduced rate,” Shaikh said.
Rebounding sales and new investments in sustainable technology provide grounds for optimism, but mill managers still feel the weight of uncertainty — especially as Pakistan’s number of reported cases rises and the anticipated second wave in the fall over the industry looms. On the market level, too, the same cautious outlook is felt.