With more coal blocks being operational, coupled with renewed focus on infrastructure the demand for mining trucks and tippers can exceed expectations.
COMMERCIAL vehicle industry experienced one of the worst and the longest spell of recessions during last three years. However, the good news is that it is reviving now. The heavy-duty (HD) trucks industry hit the peak level in 2011 with a sales of 241,000 and it dropped to 130,000 in 2013. However, the industry has started going up after bottoming out. In 2014, for last seven months, HD truck industry is growing now with YTD growth of 7 per cent with industry sales at 112,000 against 105,000 in first nine months last year. The HD trucks industry in 2014 was expected to grow by a minimum 10 per cent.
According to Anders Grundstromer, Managing Director, Scania India, and Senior Vice President, Scania Group, the mining sector is definitely opening up compared to last year. He says, ´This year, there is more positive sentiment growing among the miners, because of the clarity from the current government, especially in the coal blocks. The budget will favour the growth of sectors such as automobile and infrastructure which in turn trigger the demand for steel and power, and this will keep the coal mining sector busy and booming.´
Says Rama Rao AS, Senior Vice President, Sales, Marketing and Aftermarket, Volvo Trucks India, VECV,´The new government at the Centre has shown strong intent to revitalise the mining sector through initiatives like new ordinance for reallocation of cancelled coal blocks through e-auction ensuring transparency; the new MMDR bill to speed up and stabilise the policy, lift of mining ban in certain states to revive the domestic iron ore mining (though with a cap on production), allotting non-operational mines to states for commercial coal mining etc. This would provide the much anticipated thrust to mining sector growth.´
Rao adds,´As a premium European truck manufacturer, Volvo Trucks over the past 17 years, has been successful in establishing the cost benefit over product lifecycle concept against the traditional initial acquisition cost based approach. Higher productivity at an optimum cost is need of the hour and hence, the most durable, reliable and technologically advanced trucks are preferred by the customers in mining application. Overall market for premium trucks has been typically around 1,200-1,500 units a year and majority of these trucks go into coal and iron ore mining applications. Considering the positive developments in both these sectors, the demand for premium trucks is expected to improve significantly in future.
´In our opinion, the easing of mining restrictions and the government initiating renewal of iron ore leases have infused a fresh breather that is resulting in an uptick in tipper sales. India has a power shortage; the dependency on coal will continue to increase. The government opening up the coal sector is a positive action, as private firms can now participate in mining and selling of coal for the first time in the country. Speeding up of infrastructure projects will also add to the momentum. We expect the tipper industry to reach more than 90,000 units by 2020,´ says a senior official from DICV.
Says Grundstromer, ´Last year, demand for premium mining trucks was about 1,200 units and this year we are expecting a demand growth of 25 per cent, which will constitute about 1,800-2,000 units. The scenario in the mining industry is definitely shaping up; with more coal blocks being operational, the demand can exceed expectations.´
´Overall, in the CV industry, the 31 tonner registered a growth of 22 per cent in 2014 and this was primarily led by demand from road projects and increased segmental shifts from lower tonnages. Our next product, the BharatBenz 3143 will be a natural progression towards high powered, cost efficient mining trucks that will bridge the gap in the industry that currently offers premium trucks and trucks that are underpowered,´ according to a senior official from DICV.
Overall, this is a balanced budget with emphasis on manufacturing as part of ´Make in India´ along with appropriate importance to skilling India. We also like the Government´s commitment to make the development process as environment-friendly as possible. While the increase in customs duty for commercial vehicles is disappointing, overall the positives outweigh the negatives. The clear commitment to implement GST by 1 April 2016 which is a game changer, easing of norms to aid flow of technology, flow of capital, and focus on sustainable development along with a roadmap of clearly stated goals in terms of 1 lakh km of roads, doubling the clean energy cess on use of coal and launch of a scheme for faster adoption are all measures in the right direction.´
He adds,´However, we would be liked to have seen more clarity around the country´s biofuel agenda and sustainable solutions in the transport sector. Bio-ethanol promises carbon savings of about 70 per cent. Overall, the broad contours are all positive and we look forward to partnering with India on this exciting journey.´
´Generally, the budget is balanced and lays a roadmap for the economy. The launch of ´Make in India´ campaign and the mega infrastructure initiatives are expected to lay a foundation of growth for transport and logistics sectors,´ according to the official from DICV. He adds,´We look forward to a positive business environment in 2015. Our sales of BharatBenz trucks registered a growth of 72 per cent in the first two months of 2015 as compared to the same period last year. The growth in this segment is expected to last, as the two key sectors, (mining and infrastructure) will drive the demand up.´
Speaking about the product offerings from the Scania stable, Grundstromer says,´Our product portfolio for the mining segment comprises Scania P 410 8x4 mining tipper with 18.8 cu m rock body and 18.8 cu m exhaust heated body options for overburden removal application, Scania P 410 8x4 coal tipper with 32 cu m coal body for transportation of coal and we are now introducing Scania P 410 8x4 mining tipper with a new 20 cu m rock body by SSAB which is the lightest in the category. All these products are designed to deliver in the toughest terrain conditions while offering superior total operating economy.´
´In our product portfolio, we also have the 2528C and 3128 CM, which are powerful workhorses that provide maximum productivity, superior power and torque that make them capable of handling any tough terrain conditions. This translates into more work, faster trips and higher revenues. The ability to climb steep gradients with full loads makes these trucks perfect for the construction and mining sectors,´ according to the input from DICV.
In the second quarter of this year, BharatBenz will launch its new BharatBenz 3143 for the niche deep-mining segment. The BharatBenz 3143, was already showcased at the IAA Commercial Vehicle show in Germany last September. It was specially designed keeping in mind the ultimate requirements of the Indian mining sector. Highly researched and meticulously engineered, the BharatBenz 3143 will be made and sold in India, targeting the niche deep-mining segment, hitherto operated by highly priced premium deep-mining trucks from global players. With high levels of localization, the product will offer the Indian mining truck owners an unbeatable value proposition and higher return on investments. Developed on the existing HDT platform - the Mercedes-Benz Axor platform - the BharatBenz 3143 is the first truck with higher horse-power (430 HP) Made-in-India, optimally engineered to meet the most demanding operating conditions at the mining sites.
According to Rao, the Volvo FMX is extremely robust and is the ultimate truck for mining and construction, integrating the experience of Volvo in this segment around the world and especially during its 15 years of leadership in India. The new FMX 440 8X4 is equipped to deliver the best-in-class productivity with an increased body capacity of 19.5 cu m, which allows carrying an additional bucket of payload. Also, it will offer the I-Shift gearbox for mining as an option, which makes it easier to drive the vehicles under the toughest conditions, thereby increasing productivity. Speaking on the FMX range Rao, says,´The new FMX is packed with smart new technologies that improve fuel efficiency, and features that minimise driver fatigue and maximise productivity and uptime. The new FMX now comes with automated gearbox as an option; the ´I-shift´ for mining that improves productivity, driving comfort and fuel efficiency. This new I-shift gearbox is Volvo´s 4th generation automated gearbox and is designed and optimised particularly for mining operations.´
Rao further adds,´The new ergonomic dashboard, instrument cluster and air suspended seat on I-shift variant provides spacious and stress-free cab, thus improving driver productivity. With the 18 tonne twin front axle, 33 tonne rear tandem axle, reinforced rear suspension, heavy-duty bumper, and even the tow hook that is tested for 32 tonne, the truck redefines robustness. The new best-in-class 19.5 cu m body capacity can lead up to 10 per cent increased productivity compared to its predecessor and competition. With best-in-class power, torque and body capacity on the new FMX, we can surely say that ´The best just got better.´
Says Grundstromer,´Our products have proven track record in the most rugged terrains of India. Scania P 410 8x4 tipper range has repeatedly impressed mining organizations in various vehicle benchmarking exercises. The new P 410 8x4 mining tipper which would be with 20 cu m rock body from SSAB, world´s leading producer of high-strength steel. The tipper comes with significantly low body weight and hence increased load carrying capacity compared to its competitors, helping fleet operators achieve higher productivity. The entire P 410 tipper range is equipped with Scania Opticruise, a fully automated gear-changing system for best fuel efficiency, and ease of driving. Idle Shutdown is another unique feature that further strengthens the total operating economy by lowering the fuel consumption.´
He further adds,´Our aftermarket service is well networked and offers the most advanced telematics service, the Scania Fleet Management System (FMS). This helps in vehicle tracking, monitoring, improving driving efficiency and vehicle fault reporting. In addition to this, Scania also offers complete driver training programme to its customers, a well trained driver can help mine operators reach optimal results.´
´BharatBenz offers vehicles in the range from 9T to 49T - delivering best value for money. With our trucks, we have transformed the Indian trucking industry. That´s confirmed by our customers and proven by a high acceptance in the market due to excellent quality of our products as well as best sales and after sales experiences. With a localisation level of more than 85 per cent, we offer the best total cost of ownership, better fuel advantage, efficiency and performance,´ according to a source from DICV. He further says,´We as DICV place a prime importance for after sales, so much that there was a well-established after sales network even before sales of the product had begun. Our philosophy is to provide the customer with state-of-the-art after sales service that ensures not just easy reach, but pro-active service. DICV´s branded unit Proserv is designed to help BharatBenz truck owners save time, money and resource.´
DICV offers fleet tracking based on client´s requirements. As per inputs from DIVC fleet owners´ technology shyness, combined with inadequate infrastructure support, has deterred the evolution of the fleet tracking systems in the country. Nevertheless, the government´s vision for greater use of vehicle tracking systems in its 11th Five Year Plan and state governments´ desire to use it in passenger information systems will give a huge boost to the market in future.
Grundstromer sums it on a positive note.´The recently held e-auctions were called for 24 coal blocks, of which 18 are underground and remaining six are in very nascent stage of development. Towards the year-end, we will definitely witness some movement and will hopefully catalyse the demand of mining trucks as well.´
Anders Grundstromer, Managing Director, Scania India and Senior Vice President, Scania Group´The entire P 410 tipper range is equipped with Scania Opticruise, a fully automated gear-changing system for best fuel efficiency.´
The heavy duty trucks industry hit the peak level in 2011 with a sale of 241,000 units In 2013 the sale dropped to 130,000 units. The tipper industry is to reach more than 90,000 units by 2020
Rama Rao AS, Senior Vice President, Sales Marketing and Aftermarket, Volvo Trucks India, VECV´The new FMX is packed with smart new technologies that improve fuel efficiency, and features that minimise driver fatigue and maximise productivity and uptime.´
The premium mining trucks registered a sale of 1200 units It is expected to grow 25 per cent, and cloak a sale of 1,800-2000 units The 31 tonner registered a growth of 22 per cent in 2014
The easing of mining restrictions and the government initiating renewal of iron ore leases have infused a fresh breather that is resulting in an uptick in tipper sales.