TIL has been in the port segment for a long time and their current offerings include a range of equipment for material handling at ports like ship-to-shore cranes, level luffing cranes, rubber tyre gantries, reach stackers, empty container handlers, laden container handlers and mobile cranes, in collaboration with various global leaders like Manitowoc, Mitsui, Hyster, etc, says Pinaki Niyogy, Associate Vice President &Head-Manufacturing & Operations, Material Handling Solutions, TIL. Excerpts from a chat with EQUIPMENT INDIA.How do you assess the potential for material handling equipment at Indian ports, and its growth potential?Maritime transport is critical for the social and economic development of a country and the port sector is one of the main user segments of material handling equipment. The range of material handling equipment varies depending on the cargo, either bulk or containers. The wide range of equipment used includes different type of cranes, forklifts, shovels, gantries, reach stackers, etc. The majority of ports in India are being utilised close to its maximum potential, and this has created the need for substantial investment by the government in the port sector; also, the volume of cargo being handled requires the modernisation of the ports. Due to the huge investment being projected in the port segment, there is immense potential for growth of material handling equipment in this area.What are the emerging trends and demands for port equipment and technology?Growth in traffic coupled with capacity constraints at the major ports will continue to drive demand for the expansion of existing terminals / berths, as well as motivate the creation of new infrastructure facilities. Also, the emerging trends in the ports sector in increasing private participation, setting up of port-based SEZs, specialist terminal based ports, increasing scope for private ports all provide healthy opportunities for port equipment space. Another emerging trend is port OEM services; currently limited players provide port OEM services, ensuring a potential opportunity for domestic and overseas players.Tell us about the product lines offered by TIL for material handling at ports.TIL has been in the port segment for a long time and their current offerings include a range of equipment for material handling at ports like ship-to-shore cranes, level luffing cranes, rubber tyre gantries, reach stackers, empty container handlers, laden container handlers and mobile cranes, in collaboration with various global leaders like Manitowoc, Mitsui, Hyster, etc.Brief us about the tie-up with Hyster, and the range of products offered in forklifts?Hyster is one of the best known names in the industry, with a reputation for making durable lifting equipment dating back to the 1920s. Hyster is part of the Nacco Materials Handling Group (NMHG), which is the division of Nacco Industries Inc, a US company based in Cleveland, Ohio. NMHG designs, engineers, manufactures and sells fork lift trucks and aftermarket parts marketed globally under the Hyster® brand name.TIL Ltd has a special tie-up with Hyster. We manufacture, in India, the range of Hyster reach stacker under a strategic alliance with Nacco Material Handling Group (NMHG.) The same quality standards, manufacturing practices, efficiency are adopted to ensure a globally high standard product from TIL and Hyster jointly.TIL is also the authorised dealer for Hyster for India for their range of forklifts starting from 8T and above.Due to huge investment in the port segment, the related industry is also expected to grow, which in turn will be a growth driver for material handling equipment, which is expected to grow at around 15 to 20 per cent.What is the potential for STS and rubber tyre gantry cranes?Any growing economy has to substantially invest in infrastructure and ports and ICD are critical for sustained growth. As we move forward to a liberalised economy, these facilities will be critical. The ship-to-shore cranes (STS) or Portainers are critical for container unloading from the ship and India definitely offers a great opportunity in view of the new projects and port expansion that is taking place.Any yardwork begins with the reach stacker and as the volume of container handling grows, the logical graduation is an investment in a Transtainer (rubber tire gantry cranes). Another critical factor would be the cost of land in expanding operations – RTG helps in enhancing productivity and lowering cost of operation.TIL has been in the port segment for many years and the next logical step towards providing a solution to a port customer was entering into a collaboration agreement for the Portainers and Transtainers. Paceco Corp USA has been the pioneer in the STS and RTG, and TIL has entered into a licensee agreement with Paceco Corp for the manufacture of Portainers and Transtainers in India. Paceco Corp has since then been acquired by Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co, and our relationship has been further strengthened as a major component and structure supplier for their projects. Today, with the expertise we have gained, we can offer world class technology known globally for their lowest cost per TEU.How strong is TIL’s presence in RT and yard cranes? Tell us the market size and range on offer.TIL manufactures a wide range of mobile cranes which includes truck cranes, rough terrain and yard cranes with Grove technology for over 50 years. We are not only the pioneers in this field, but also the market leader. The market for the mobile cranes is growing at a very good rate year over year due to huge investments in various sectors in steel, cement, infrastructure, etc. The range of cranes varies from 15T to 75T, and are manufactured by TIL in India and up to 450T through the Grove range of cranes from the Grove factory in Europe.Since service and quick response to reduce downtime are essential, what are the steps initiated by TIL to optimise production?TIL is committed to providing total solutions to its customers not only through quality products but through differentiated and innovative product support and service offerings.As the range of equipment manufactured by us are working in different industries and in different parts of the country, we have positioned our service establishment in strategic locations which takes care of geographical proximity and are close to the cluster of machines, thus ensuring quick response time and reduced downtime. Also, the production is driven by the market trend and not based on back-to-back order. Hence we plan our production activity suitably to reduce delivery time and ensure better availability.What are the major challenges the industry faces?Although the Indian port sector has huge potential for development, certain issues continue to retard its growth. Low efficiency, capacity constraints and lack of specialised berths are some of them. Awards and completion of PPP projects have also fallen behind schedule most of the time.As the related industry grows, the demand for material handling equipment grows. Also owing to this fact, the market has a global exposure; many players from outside India are active in our country. This throws a challenge to ensure product quality. Then, competition from low cost countries brings in tremendous price pressures wherein it is a challenge to remain competitive. This combined with inflow of used equipment from different parts of the globe without any time period restriction, makes the situation more difficult to sustain. The challenge is to face all the above and still remain the leader.Tell us about some of the projects where TIL products are supplied.TIL has a presence in the entire range of equipment manufactured in India in the core segments like steel, cement, infrastructure, power, ports, railways, etc. Not only is the equipment procured by the end-user segment but also by the rental market which caters to various requirement of the core segment by providing machineries on rentals, thus establishing leadership across the customer profile in the country. All major projects in the country requires material handling equipment and TIL is present in all major projects like Metro, NH projects, construction of major greenfield project like new steel plants, cement plants, etc.How strong is TIL’s presence in ICDs and CFS?The majority of ICDs and CFS use varied material handling equipment like RTGs, reach stackers in an isolated manner or a combined one, depending on the requirement and size of the CFS and ICDs. Also, major organisations and ports hire the equipment. We are therewith all the major users, CFS and ICDs.