IN - Foundry sector eyes railways, defense for growth

Industry may shrink by up to 15% in 2020 during slowdown

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The Indian foundry industry is eyeing overseas markets to more than double its share in the global trade over the next five years. Besides, it is also betting on railways and defence to post higher growth in volumes, said a top official.

“Currently, India is the second largest producer of castings at 13.38 million tonnes per annum (MTPA). However, its share in the total global trade is 2.4%,” said Sanjay Shroff, president, The Institute of Indian Foundrymen (IIF). “But Indian exports are set to scale up to $4 billion (from the current $3.5 billion) in the next five years to achieve a 6% share in the total global imports. For this, it will be focusing on competitiveness, value addition and tapping markets other than the U.S. and the Europe,” he said.

Now, the foundry industry is eyeing Bangladesh, Panama, Sri Lanka, Ghana, Cambodia and other countries that are growing at an average rate of more than 10% year-on-year.

Last year, about 4,550 foundries in the large, medium and small scale segments in the organised sector produced 13.38 MTPA, which was an 11% increase over the corresponding year-ago period. It is likely to end the current fiscal with a negative growth of 10-15% due to overall slowdown in the Indian economy.

“Auto industry is the biggest consumer at 32%, followed by railways at 6%. We expect an uptick in the economy during the third quarter of 2020-21,” stated Mr. Shroff. Explaining that all was not lost, he said the IIF had drawn up a five-year road map to increase the toal revenue from the current $20 billion to $30 billion.

“If India needs to achieve its goal of a $5-trillion economy, then the Indian foundries need to grow by at least 25% year-on-year for the next five years. This calls for suitable intervention, investment by industries, technology, skilling and focusing on value addition. If foundry sector supports manufacturing, then the goal of $5 trillion economy can be easily achieved,” he said.

Asserting that the Indian foundry sector was eyeing railways, defence and capital goods, Shroff says: “The total demand from railways is estimated to be 4.50 lakh tonnes per annum to 5 lakh tonnes per annum, which is likely to increase by 8-10%. Similarly, defence consumption will be about one lakh tonnes per annum to 1.20 lakh tonnes per annum, which is likely to post 15-20% growth due to opening of this sector.