Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Shri Nitin Gadkari
The 2023 Annual Session of ICEMA (Indian Construction Equipment Manufacturers Association) focused on Innovation, Investment, Sustainability and Localization as key imperatives for growth and presented perspectives of industry experts. Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Shri Nitin Gadkari unveiling the Construction Equipment Technology Vision Roadmap 2035 stressed on the need to adopt sustainable technology and alternative fuels such as ethanol and methanol which could bring down operational costs by 25 to 40 percent to further boost the industry's competitiveness and economic viability.
He urged cooperation, coordination, and communication amongst stakeholders in implementation of the Roadmap. Manufacturers must develop cost-effective equipment, uphold worker's safety, and foster job creation. He also underscored the government's commitment to improving road infrastructure, coal mining, airports, and waterways. Making best use of available resources and maintaining high-quality standards would also drive demand for ‘made in India’ equipment in international markets.
Union Minister of Coal, Mines, and Parliamentary Affairs, Prahlad Joshi stated that India has taken a remarkable step towards becoming a developed nation by investing Rs 10 lakh crore in the infrastructure sector during the post-Covid period. The government is upgrading road, rail, port, and airport infrastructure to reduce logistics costs and enhance transportation networks as seen in the increase in the number of airports to 145, and the impressive construction of 37 km of roads per day. The government is also committed to doubling electrification by 2030 while simultaneously planning to halt coal imports by 2025-26. Notably, electrification of 62,000 km of railway lines has already been accomplished. In a significant boost to the coal sector, coal PSUs will invest Rs 2.5 lakh crore by 2030. The government has relaxed coal exploration norms and has assured that punitive actions will be taken against illegal mining.
Insights on Imperatives for Growth of Construction Equipment
V. Vivekanand, Vice President, ICEMA & Director, Caterpillar India: The Technology Vision Roadmap underscores the need for continual industry progress in safety, solutions, and sustainability, driven by rapidly evolving cutting-edge global technologies.
Kavan Mukhtyar, Partner at PwC: The ICEMA roadmap envisions promoting sustainable infrastructure development in India, but there will be challenges in achieving sustainable growth in a fast-growing economy like India. To minimize wastage, equipment needs to be application-centric, with four key pillars critical for successful technology adoption.
Jaideep Shekhar, Co-convener of ICEMA Industry Analysis and Insight Panel & MD - Asia/EMEAR at Terex India: Utilizing waste material in road construction, particularly slag usage, is gaining acceptance as a scientific approach to reducing reliance on virgin aggregates. Such practices have been successfully applied in projects like the Ludhiana Road construction. M-sand and electrification in the crushing and screening industry is being widely embraced, and telematics and mobility solutions are improving productivity through better equipment usage tracking.
Dimitrov Krishnan - President ICEMA & MD - Volvo CE India: There is a need for capacity addition in the construction equipment industry due to the planned expansion in infrastructure construction. Indian CE manufacturers have been exporting to over 100 countries, including advanced nations, but to fully harness capacity, a robust supply chain ecosystem is imperative.
Sanjeet Singh, Senior Adviser-Economics & Finance-II, Disinvestment, Trade & Commerce, G-20, Niti Ayog: The government's focus on sustainable development entails not only the expansion of core infrastructure but also the fulfilment of basic human needs, including job creation through the development of robust infrastructure projects.
Easwaran Subramanian - Partner Consulting, Deloitte India: Major projects like the NIP, GatiShakti, and NMP are catalysts for Indian infrastructure growth, however, economies of scale are hindered by higher logistics costs and challenges in export competitiveness.
Anand Sunderasan - Past President, ICEMA & MD - Ammann India: The current excess capacity in manufacturing remains underutilized due to gaps in the logistics supply chain. Additionally, volatility in steel prices impacts profitability and export competitiveness.
V.G Sakthikumar - Convener ICEMA Industry Analysis & Insights Panel & CMD - Schwing Stetter India: The engineering competitiveness of the construction equipment sector cannot be denied, but there is also high logistics costs and shortage of skilled workforce in the manufacturing sector. The challenge of partiality in taxation is impacting the export competitiveness of Indian-made products compared to Chinese products.
Ramesh Palagiri - Co-convener, ICEMA Brand Building & Communications Panel, MD & CEO Wirtgen India: Extensive usage of capital-intensive technologies like milling machines and low-temperature asphalt solutions can succeed provided project owners focus on stringent implementation and quality.
The Indian construction equipment industry holds great potential for growth but to fully realize the potential, it must address challenges related to supply chain efficiency, skilled workforce, export competitiveness, localization, and technology adoption through investment and implementation.