Self-reliance in sea container manufacturing – an urgency


In a big transfer, three union ministers – of transport, railway and chemical and fertilisers – final week mentioned issues to make India self-sufficient in sea container manufacturing. This is a matter that’s been on the radar of the Centre for a few years however not a lot has occurred. The commerce is closely depending on China, which has a monopoly with over 90 per cent market share in containers globally.

The ministers handled constructing an ecosystem that may assist home producers to supply Make In India containers to assist the commerce.

India’s commerce suffered enormously resulting from container scarcity beginning in 2020 finish resulting from Covid-related lockdown adopted by Suez Canal blockade by a container ship in March 2021 resulting in extreme congestion on the ports of Europe and the US. This led to a container scarcity, which was aggravated by the Ukraine conflict.

Important problem

There may be an urgency to revive container manufacturing to make sure that the commerce doesn’t endure additional any world eventuality. Final yr, a proposal to arrange an ecosystem at Bhavnagar in Gujarat was drawn, however it’s nonetheless on paper.

With the Centre aggressively pushing its AatmaNirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India) programme, container manufacturing regionally can be essential for its success.

Practically twenty years in the past, India was one of many few nations that used to fabricate containers as containerisation began to flourish. Container producers comparable to Balmer Lawrie (Chennai and Kochi); DCM Hyundai (Chennai) and HIM Containers (Kolkata) have been shut down. Solely DCM is making native containers in Delhi, stated an official of a number one container leasing firm.

India misplaced the race to China, which emerged as a dominant participant on this area resulting from low-cost labour, availability of ample uncooked materials and the flexibility to scale rapidly. All these have been lacking in India.

Every container prices about ₹2.5 lakh. If made in India, the fee is cheaper by almost 25 per cent. Concor alone has a requirement for roughly 50,000 containers within the subsequent 3 years.

Prime producer

India’s container manufacturing trade can take a cue from China through the use of scrap as a uncooked materials. China initially grew to become the prime producer of ISO containers, firstly, due to low labour prices, later due to China changing into the metal recycling hub globally, then in fact, they surged because the manufacturing facility to the world. India might be aggressive nevertheless it should change into a bigger metal recycler, stated Ennarasu Karunesan, Maritime & Port Skilled, and IAPH Regional Director.

Not like different merchandise, manufacturing of containers is economically extra possible in a market the place exports are greater than imports. In any other case, it is going to make the enterprise unviable because the freight price to ship an empty container from one nation to a different may price equal to virtually 30-40 per cent of the market worth of a container. This is among the causes for China changing into a hub for container manufacturing, he stated.

Jagannarayan Padmanabhan, Observe chief and Director, Transport logistics and Mobility, CRISIL, stated China has your entire ecosystem effectively constructed, the ISO container wants a particular kind of metal referred to as Corten metal and the plywood used can be of a particular variety. The labour productiveness is much better in China compared to India. Financing phrases are much better for them.

Make metal obtainable at aggressive costs and supply fiscal advantages for the plant and equipment, he added, on reviving container manufacturing.

Revealed on

August 21, 2022



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In a big transfer, three union ministers – of transport, railway and chemical and fertilisers – final week mentioned issues to make India self-sufficient in sea container manufacturing. This is a matter that’s been on the radar of the Centre for a few years however not a lot has occurred. The commerce is closely depending…