New Delhi: India’s overseas container trade volume doubled in 2016 to 10% compared to the previous year, showing signs of revival in global economic activity, according to a report prepared by transport & logistics company Maersk Group.
While containerized exports jumped 11% in 2016 from a meagre 2% a year ago, containerized imports picked up to grow at 10% in 2016 from 8% in the previous year.
Exports to Saudi Arabia clocked highest volume growth at 16% on the back of strong demand for ceramics and tiles, which grew at 80% in 2016. “Increase in construction activities and redecoration of homes due to an improvement in the Saudi Arabian economy were the key reasons for this demand,” the report said.
“While the demand for stones in Saudi Arabia increased, shipment from other suppliers like Spain and China dipped. Chinese companies focused on upgrading their production units, which increased prices making India more cost competitive last year. Spain, on the other hand, shifted its sourcing base to Morbi in India, which also resulted in increased supply from India,” said Franck Dedenis, managing director, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh Cluster at Maersk Line, the global containerized division of the Maersk Group.
Kenya was the second-fastest growing destination registering a growth of 14% due to increase in demand for garments, appliances, kitchenware and automobiles.
China remained India’s largest import source country, clocking 19% growth in 2016, led by demand for electrical motors, consumer electronics, and solar panels. However, South Korea registered the highest volume growth in imports at 41% during the year.
“India is currently the third-largest energy consuming economy in the world after the US and China and plans to achieve 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022. This has led to the rise in imports of solar panels from outside and China is catering to almost 60% of this requirement due to the cost benefit that it offers,” Dedenis said.
After dipping by 2% in 2015, overall imports from the United States made a comeback in 2016 and grew at 7%. This was due to increase in import of wastepaper which has traditionally been the most imported commodity from the US. “In 2016 few wastepaper factories shut operations in Europe forcing Indian suppliers to start sourcing from the US which added to the increase,” Dedenis said.