The Container Corporation of India on Friday said it will meet its annual need for around 8,000 containers from domestic manufacturers and no longer depend on China for its requirement.
Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Friday called on the industry to “seriously explore” the possibility of containers being manufactured in India “given its chronic shortage for exports”.
The Container Corporation of India (Concor), which spends about Rs 200 crore annually on procurement of containers, has already given a developmental order for 1,000 containers each to public sector undertakings Bharat Heavy Electricals (BHEL) and Braithwaite & Co.
Concor will soon issue tenders for the remaining 6,000 containers wherein only domestic firms will be able to participate under certain government rules.
“As of now, all containers are imported because there is no manufacturing capability in India. We want to push India as a manufacturing hub for containers.
“Our requirement is 8,000 containers every year for the next five years. This is enough to support the start of manufacturing in India,” V Kalyana Rama, chairman and managing director of Concor, said at a media briefing on Friday.
He added that it is important that containers made in India are globally competitive, as there is a huge demand for containers in the global market. However, currently, there is a cost difference of about 25-30 per cent in containers made in India and abroad.
“We need to see how we can reduce the cost of production to compete globally,” V Kalyana Rama said.
On the developmental order given, Rama said the two companies are developing prototypes currently and testing results should be out by next month.
Goyal called for manufacturing containers indigenously with GPS technology for better logistics, the life-line of the Indian industry.
He also said there is a need for refrigeration containers and instead of depending on the imports India should manufacture them to work towards making the country self-sufficient in the maritime economy.
A large country like India, which is on a high growth path but faces a chronic shortage of containers for its exports, needs to seriously explore the possibility of containers being manufactured indigenously, the minister said.
Concor, which currently has a fleet of 37,000 containers, organised a stakeholder consultation on the issues on Friday, during which major steel players like SAIL, Tata Steel and Jindal Steel confirmed availability of required better grade steels.
Additionally, Indian manufacturing companies like BHEL, Braithwaite, Kalyani cast tech, Balmer Lawrie, Transafe, DCM Hyundai (Hindustan Vaccum) added that the technology required to manufacture these containers was available with them.