The lift truck market in India has been witnessing ups and downs in the past few years. The market saw very strong growth in 2018 after the implementation of GST, which continued even in the beginning of 2019. But, the double impact of the economic slowdown in 2019 and the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 hampered the industry’s growth. Demand had, however, started picking up again from the second half of 2020.
The market trend in Q1 of 2021 shows significant growth opportunities for material handling equipment in India. We are very optimistic and bullish about the market in 2021 and expect the market volume for MHEs to have a very robust growth over that of 2020. Though the second wave of the Coronavirus and the slow vaccination rate may act as a drag to the economy, but the resultant impact on the material handling market is yet to be ascertained.
Opportunities & Challenges
The evolving trend visible in the e-commerce and organised retail is also a major growth driver of the forklift market as this has opened up creation of more warehousing facilities with modern designs, technologies and material handling equipment. The manufacturing and automobile industries have also bounced back after almost two years, which is creating a lot of demand for forklifts.
We are witnessing a clear trend of customers asking for high-rack warehousing with our semi-automatic high-rise stackers and reach trucks, while also showing a lot of interest in automatic guided vehicles, trucks with warehouse navigation systems etc. Logistics and warehousing is rapidly emerging as one of the strategic functions for the Indian companies, which is driving the demand of material handling equipment across categories in India.
In spite of all these positive trends in the market, a major part of the forklift market in India is still dominated by the IC engine powered trucks. While the adoption of Li-Ion battery technology is better in the rest of APAC and other developed markets globally, India is still in the nascent stage in Li-Ion battery technology.
Shift From Diesel to Electric Forklifts
As mentioned earlier, there is a visible shift to electric forklifts only in a few market segments. However, going forward, there is expected to be more demand for battery-operated forklifts, due to the rising cost of diesel, more emission compliance in the industry, and the growing awareness about the advantages of electric forklifts.
The need for reliable, compact, energy-efficient, and environment-friendly forklifts with superior ergonomics and safety, and having a good price-performance ratio will definitely see a gradual shift from diesel to electric forklift. And customers will shift slowly but steadily towards battery-operated forklifts. I am sure that the advantages offered by Li-Ion battery will accelerate the conversion from oil to electric in the mid- and long term.
Demand for Heavy Duty Forklifts
The major part of the Indian forklift market falls under the 2-3 ton category. The 5-ton forklifts are majorly used by industries like heavy engineering, capital equipment manufacturing, ports & yards, bulk chemicals etc. The modernisation of existing ports and greenfield port projects will increase the demand for heavy-duty forklifts. Growing import export activities will definitely drive the demand for heavy forklifts in port-based ICDs container freight stations. The government’s port infrastructure development plans under the Sagarmala project will provide more impetus to the growth prospects of heavy-duty forklifts in the future.
Competition in the Market
A healthy competition has helped us grow in India as well as in the global market. We are born electric and have the complete range of lead acid and Li-Ion battery-powered lift trucks which offer unmatched quality and performance. We are continuously investing and upgrading our technology, expanding our product portfolio, which includes launching of new range of lift trucks at various price points with superior performance, ergonomics and reliability. We also provide customised products and services, and are continuously expanding our sales and service reach to stay closer to our customers and markets.
Jungheinrich India’s Material Handling Solutions
Jungheinrich India offers various business models for material handling like sales as wells as rental (both long-term & short-term) of new forklifts and warehousing equipment, sales & rental of used equipment, logistics systems and after sales.
Jungheinrich is a leader in providing end-to-end intra-logistics solutions, starting from loading/unloading bays and managing material handling movement within the warehouse, along with stacking and de-stacking on racking. Our portfolio consists of manual hand pallet trucks, battery-operated pallet trucks, electric stackers, electric counterbalance trucks, reach trucks, VNA trucks and racking solutions. We also provide customised solutions for various industries like flame-proof trucks, cold storage trucks, and customised trucks, based on load handling and application requirements.
There are various safety features provided with our trucks based on applications and conditions of usage. Traffic regulation lights, weighing system, curve control, pin code access, fleet management system, mirrors, rear sensors, video cameras, floor spot lights, etc are the key safety features associated with our trucks.
Catering to the Rental Market in India
In the current market scenario, rental is expected to gain momentum for material handling equipment like lift trucks as customers will be relying more on rentals for their requirements rather than buying new equipment to save on Capex. In line with this scenario, we are further expanding our rental offerings for Indian customers. We offer long-term and short-term rental services.
Our long-term rental delivers productivity by optimising truck performance as the maintenance is taken care of by us. Short-term rental caters to high seasonal demands. We anticipate that short-term rentals will become more popular in the coming years.