Manufacture of shipping containers in India to reduce dependence on China
Modi Pade in Medcom Inty India Containers Manufacturing Project
Yes, to reduce dependence on China, the Modi government is working on manufacturing of shipping-grade containers in India, with production link incentive (PLI) to local firms as key.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been a huge shortage of containers for global shipping. There are many trade agreements going on between one country to another. In this background these containers play an important role in exporting and importing. However, after the corona epidemic, there is a shortage of containers. It is also adversely affecting India’s export-import supply chain.
Most container imports are from China
At present, only a few small domestic firms manufacture containers that provide service in rail mode. Container Corporation of India Limited (CONCOR), a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) under the Ministry of Railways is India’s largest container fleet operator with over 37,000 containers. But India imports entire containers from China to supply the domestic segment.
PLI to manufacture containers for locals
For the domestic segment alone, there is a requirement of around 50,000 containers over the next three years. CONCOR, which placed an order to manufacture 8,000 containers from domestic companies last year, has now placed a second order for 10,000 containers from a Bhavnagar-based firm.
In June, the Union government launched a plan to study the container shortage and production problem and to manufacture shipping-grade containers in India with an aim to ease the availability of containers to exporters.
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An inter-ministerial committee set up in June on the directives of the Prime Minister’s Office has now recommended several measures, including issuing PLIs to locals to manufacture containers. “The draft PLI is ready and is in the process of being circulated for inter-ministerial consultation,” a senior government official told news media.
How do agencies go about certifying containers?
An inter-ministerial committee comprising officials from the Ministries of Shipping, Steel and Commerce and representatives of CONCOR and National Industrial Corridor Development Corporation (NICDC) also examined issues like availability of specific quality steel required for production in this regard. Containers, increasing panels for inspection and agencies have devised several measures to standardize containers manufactured in the country.
The committee’s recommendations and action taken by respective agencies were reviewed on August 15 by Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnav, Shipping Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya.
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During interaction with industry stakeholders, it was reported to the Committee that certain types of steel are used to manufacture containers but no Indian standards are currently available. “Specified Corten-A steel is required for making containers. The committee did not discuss the matter with the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), which has now released the Indian standard, which is equivalent to Corten-A steel specifications,” said an official who was part of the committee.
Increase in number of agencies certifying containers
The Ministry of Steel has negotiated with steel manufacturers to register with BIS and obtain licenses as per specified norms. Also the agencies certifying containers as per ISO standard test have been increased from two to six as per the directive of the committee.
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