The state-owned Container Corporation of India Limited (CONCOR) on Friday said it had a source of its annual requirement of about 8,000 containers, which until now had only been imported from China from domestic manufacturers.
CONCOR, which spends about ₹ 200 crore annually on the purchase of containers, has already placed a development order for 1,000 containers to both the public sector undertakings – Bharat Heavy Electricals (BHEL) and Braithwaite & Company. For the remaining 6,000 containers, the company will soon issue a tender in which only domestic firms can participate.
“Until now, all containers are imported because India does not have manufacturing capacity,” V. Kalyan Ram, CMD said.
“We want to advance India as a manufacturing hub for containers. Our requirement for the next five years is 8,000 containers every year. This is enough to support the start of manufacturing in India, ”he said.
He said that CONCOR was the largest buyer of containers in India, and therefore, the company could support kick-start to the manufacturing ecosystem.
Shri Ram said that it was important that the containers manufactured in India were globally competitive as there was a huge demand for them in the global market.
However, at present, there was a cost difference of about 25–30% between containers made in India and abroad. “We need to see how we can reduce the cost of production to compete globally,” he said.
On the developmental order given, Mr. Ram said that the two companies are currently developing the prototype, and the test results should be revealed by next month.
Earlier on Friday, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal called on the industry to seriously explore the ‘possibility of containers being manufactured in India’ given the chronic shortage of containers for export.
Meanwhile, he also called for the manufacture of indigenous containers with GPS, a technology capable of better logistics, which is the lifeline of Indian industry.
Concor, which currently has a fleet of 37,000 containers, conducted a stakeholder consultation on the issues on Friday, during which major steel players such as SAIL, Tata Steel and Jindal Steel confirmed the availability of the required superior-grade steel.
Additionally, Indian manufacturing companies such as BHEL, Braithwaite, Kalyani Caste Tech, Ballmer Laurie, Transfera, DCM Hyundai (Hindustan Vacuum) etc. stated that the technology required to manufacture these containers was available with them.