Opinion column by Óscar Lana, CEO of Integralia
The material delays that have been dragging on for three years have continued to be the protagonists of the first quarter of 2023 in Integralia. Nothing new. We have been living in this complex situation for some years now and, of course, we can take comfort in the fact that it is something circumstantial for all the players in the sector. However, I believe that we are gradually getting used to this new way of working thanks to the understanding of our customers, whom we will never cease to thank for their loyalty. And, of course, thanks to the great commitment of the team, which moves at full speed as the materials land in our warehouses. I never imagined that such a changing geopolitical situation would influence us so directly in the future of so many companies.
For some time now, the rise in raw material costs seems to have levelled off, but we should not be complacent. The headache of the price adjustment seems to have subsided this quarter, but we are still waiting to see what happens in the day-to-day financial markets. That is where our balance sheet will be reflected, more directly than ever before.
And, on the other hand, the question of what is going to happen in the future of mobility is being asked more and more frequently. It is clear that we are moving towards a horizon of environmentally friendly vehicles, a new model in which people are at the centre of the strategic plans that the trendsetters are predicting. However, there is still reluctance in the sector to embrace this vision. Right now in Spain, more ten-year-old diesel minibuses are being bought than hybrid, electric or gas vehicles, according to DGT registration data.
On the other hand, the European Union urges mobility companies to make their vehicles zero-emission by 2030. The problem is that, with seven years to go, there is no product that has seduced the companies to be able to comply with the EU rule. Is the solution to the problems of sustainable mobility gas, electricity or hydrogen? For now, the answer is uncertain. We will have to wait and see. I wish we had a global answer to this question, with a uniform plan for all countries.
Personally, I have no doubt that the pedestrian will be the protagonist in city centres. However, we must not forget the cyclist and the new scooter driver, two quick options that have been successful in many European cities for some years now. Respect for the pedestrian is undoubtedly a matter of the size of vehicles and the speed at which they travel. Here, even in cities 100 kilometres apart, we see different ways of finding a solution and none of them is definitive.
The future of mobility will certainly not be solved in the next quarter, but we hope that the geopolitical situation will continue to calm down. We hope so.