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The problems with wet-white

Published: 15 May, 2019

As reported by theSauerReport, some slaughterhouse’s in Europe which normally sell their raw hides fresh, delivered into Italian tanneries, are having to now have these same hides contract wet-blued because of the down turn in demand. This alleviates the problem of what to do with the hides in the short term, but as reported it does raise other problems. Tying up cash flow for the slaughterhouse is one issue, but more of a problem is that to the wider market. Sooner or later these hides will have to be sold into the market place. It will cause major pressure to the price if too many are offered for sale at any one time.

Wet-white gives a much greater problem for tanners and suppliers. Unlike wet-blue, anti mould can not be added to the wet-white to extend the shelf life. Once processed into wet-white the hide really needs to be processed into finished leather straight away, or within a few weeks at the latest, to avoid the hide starting to deteriorate. The wet-white industry has grown in recent years due to the demands of the automotive industry. But, with the decline of this industry many suppliers are said to either have too much stock of already processed wet-white, or are in a situation of not knowing if they should stop further production to avoid compounding their stock positions. One major European wet-white tanner has fallen by the way-side this year already; the cause of their demise has been reported to theSauerReport as water bacteria causing damage to several month’s worth of supply. 

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