The Only Sector Generating Consistent Demand For Indian Construction Equipment Is Roads And Highways

Mr. Jasmeet Singh, Head – Corporate Communications & Corporate Relations, JCB India Ltd. shares his views with Sudeshna Mukherjee, Assistant Editor, CE&CR about bauma CONEXPO 2018, which is scheduled to happen on 11th - 14th December at Huda Ground, Gurgaon/Delhi.
Civil Engineering and Construction Review: Have the government’s various initiatives for the growth of Indian infrastructure sector been helping the construction industry?

Jasmeet Singh: Infrastructure development has been a top agenda for the Government and implementation of large-scale projects coupled with significant allocations in successive national budgets have contributed in the growth of the Indian Construction Equipment sector.

2017 was a record year for JCB India and 2018 looks to be promising as well. Most of the growth has happened in the Roads and Highways sector, which has been generating consistent demand for our products. Lately, sectors such as Irrigation and Water Conservation are gaining momentum. A significant area of opportunity is to have more demand drivers for our industry for sustainable growth. Sectors such as Railways, Airports and Housing have shown potential and we are hopeful that they will start driving demand in the coming times.

Due to this increased demand we are seeing an uptick in all our product categories, especially in larger product categories. At present, JCB offers 50 products in eight product categories. Our Backhoe Loaders continue to remain the preferred choice for customers; but we have also diversified our product range and introduced revolutionary products in the Material Handling range i.e. Telehandlers, Skid Steer Loaders & Super Loaders and Premier Line range which includes our Excavators, Wheeled Loaders and Compactors. All these products are aimed at maximising productivity and profitability for our customers. Excavators as a product line is exciting as the current opportunities have increased the demand for this category.

CE&CR: With 2018 coming to an end, tell us about your company’s performance this year and your outlook going forward? In which sectors do you expect demand for your products in the coming years?

Jasmeet Singh: The last two years have been exciting for the Indian Construction Equipment Industry. 2018 has been a positive year so far, with the industry growing over 40% in the first half of the year and we feel this momentum will continue as the development of infrastructure is an ongoing process and India needs world class infrastructure.

The Government has continued to make infrastructure creation a pillar for sustained growth through significant budget allocations, which have thus created growth opportunities for Construction Equipment. Roads and Highways continue with their momentum and are still the primary growth driver. Irrigation has also moved ahead significantly with some large-scale irrigation projects being undertaken by states. Sectors such as Railways, Urban Rejuvenation, and Housing have shown potential, but still need to pick up to ensure sustained growth in the industry.

CE&CR: What are the challenges and opportunities that you see in the construction equipment market?

Jasmeet Singh: A significant area of opportunity is to have more demand drivers in the industry. Presently, the only sector that has been generating consistent demand for Indian Construction Equipment is Roads and Highways. However, to ensure that we can sustain this growth, we need couple of more sectors to generate demand. Sectors such as Irrigation, Ports, and Water Conservation have shown potential and we are hopeful that they will start driving demand in the coming times.

Another key area where the industry is working with the Government is the seamless transition to BSIV (CEV) Emission Standards for Wheeled Equipment, which are due to come in October 2020. We believe the new standards will lead to considerable technological advancement in the product thus, getting us at par with other advanced markets. It will also contribute in the enhancement of the overall value chain of the product in terms of development, research and percolation of this technology in the supply chain.

Another important aspect is to bridge the skill gap between the demand and supply of skilled workforce in the industry. The requirement for skilled operators and technicians is set to increase as safety and productivity at work sites becomes a priority. Through the IESC (Infrastructure Equipment Skill Council) our Industry is now focusing on the various skilling programmes for operators and technicians.

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