NEW DELHI : Indian exporters, who have suffered setbacks from Covid and Ukraine war led supply chain disruptions, are excited at the prospects of sending their consignments on made-in-India container ships by next year.
The country is expected to build some 47 container ships by the year 2030, with the central government approving $20.13 million under the Shipbuilding Financial Assistance Policy (SBFA). The policy, introduced in 2015, has seen as many as 21 shipyards, including big names like L&T Shipbuilding Ltd, Cochin Shipyard Ltd, Goa Shipyard Ltd and Titagarh Shipyard Ltd, signing up for the scheme.
The financial assistance under SBFA is for Indian shipyards for shipbuilding contracts: signed between April 1, 2016 and March 31, 2026.
Though the shipyards were given a three-year deadline post-approval to come up with the vessels, the pandemic and the war have come in the way. Now the expectation is that the first Indian- made commercial vessel would set sail in 2023.
“India is gearing up for adding Indian-made container ships. The central government has already sanctioned $20 million for this…During the pandemic, Indian traders faced issues with regard to availability of container ships as well as containers. Since then, there has been a demand for manufacturing them domestically,” said K. Unnikrishnan, Joint Director General, Federation of Indian Export Organisations.
Indian companies are also in the process of increasing production of containers. As per reports, the government is planning a production- linked incentive scheme for container manufacturing.
Bhavnagar in Gujarat may become a manufacturing hub for containers, with APPL Containers there receiving orders to supply 10,000 shipping containers in a year to the Container Corporation of India. Concor will also be procuring 6,000 containers from BEML and Braithwaite & Co Ltd by the end of 2023.
Jindal Steel is in process of setting up container manufacturing facilities. SAIL and a few other major steel producers have already started manufacturing specialty steel required for container production. Import of this steel from China has been a major concern.
“As per estimates, the logistics sector uses around 12 lakhs containers and there is a requirement of 50,000 new containers in the next three years. India is dependent on China for 90 percent of its container needs, Once manufacturing picks up, some portion of the demand would be met by these producers,” said Unnikrishnan.
Source : The Asian Age