More synthetic fibres to boost Russian textiles

Russia will soon start using oil as raw material, which will later be converted into synthetic fibre for its textile industry. The first contract was signed at the Fourth Textile Industry Forum in Ivanovo.

Factory noise is music to the ears of Tatyana Volkova. She's been working in one for almost 5 years, and now things are looking up after her old machine was replaced.

“It’s easier and more pleasant to work with. Productivity has risen too. Now I make 8-9 packs an hour, before I made 4. Here, everything’s on the screen, it’s really simple.”

Volkova works in the transformation industry – the second step in the textile sector. Here they spin, weave and knit clothes. According to Giuseppe Gherzi, President, Gherzi Textil Organisation, this segment is in moderate condition.

“We do have know – how, we have equipment, but equipment is old. We are not cost competitive against China and India.”

But before Volkova can work, she needs raw material.

Russia imports most of its cotton and makes little synthetic fibre of its own. But Heinz Bachmann, board member at the International Textile Manufacturers Federation, says the solution to this shortage is quite simple – make more textiles out of oil.

“From oil you can produce Philemon, polyester, acrylics, whatever you like. Russia has oil, China has the know – how. So, a joint venture in Russia, in an oil region, could be of tremendous benefit.”

So far the state is trying to develop the industry without foreign help, instead preferring to sign a contract with Republic of Tatarstan. First, oil will undergo preliminary treatment there, then it will be sent to factories in Ivanovo and turned into textile. Production is set to start in 2010.