India looks to enter container manufacturing

India is looking to enter the container manufacturing sector in a big way as the country aims to boost its exports.

Container manufacturing is expected to be part of India’s Atmanirbhar Bharat programme, which is a vision for India envisaged by prime minister Narendra Modi to make India a self-reliant nation. Under the program, five pillars were outlined – economy, infrastructure, system, vibrant demography and demand.

The country’s decision comes at a time when there is a major container shortage on major liner routes resulting in substantial freight rate hikes. The shortage of containers has also been causing delays in shipment of India’s major export goods including rice.

“We need to address the issue of containers at the earliest especially as we focus on boosting exports on one hand and reducing imports on the other,” Ajay Sahai, director general, Federation of Indian Export Organisation told India Narrative.

India’s Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways has already set up a committee to study the feasibility of manufacturing containers at Bhavnagar in Gujarat.

Currently China is the largest container manufacturing country in the world with a market share of more than 95%.

Commenting on the news, Andy Lane from Singapore-based CTI Consultancy told Splash: “Currently there is some demand for additional production. Longer term the global container fleet will remain at around 1.6 times the liner ship capacity, and India will need to compete with China here. China has an additional advantage that the containers roll out of the factory straight for export stuffing.”

Jason Jiang

Jason is one of the most prolific writers on the diverse China shipping & logistics industry and his access to the major maritime players with business in China has proved an invaluable source of exclusives. Having been working at Asia Shipping Media since inception, Jason is the chief correspondent of Splash and associate editor of Maritime CEO magazine. Previously he had written for a host of titles including Supply Chain Asia, Cargo Facts and Air Cargo Week.


  1. Shouldn’t this title be: ”India looks to RE-enter……”?
    Perhaps your correspondent is not aware of Balmer Lawrie and others who produced containers in India for many years until Chinese competition and Indian bureaucracy and taxes destroyed their economic viability.
    Before India tries this again, they need to sort out their Customs rules and their administration of Indian products made for export.

    1. Very true. I was part of time. We were told by customs, to have the containers “exported” we would need to take it “out if the country” first as empty, then being it back for export cargo stuffing. And we did some of the initial lots like that. Then with herculian task managed to get special customs procedural clearance for stuffing, without physically moving out newly inducted containers from a production unit. Your input must arrive at most competitive price, good volume production-well automated and trouble free labour force to succeed in this game. Location near to a major container port is also a.must.

  2. Is the demand forecast for new containers a robust diagonal line? One wonders if they’ll be ramping up just as there is a downtick, or a rebalancing of empties.

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