Flurry of road bids expected
According to the latest reports, India's GDP growth rate slipped to 4.5 per cent in the July-September quarter of this fiscal. Despite all government efforts to curb slowdown, this slowest growth rate in six and a half years is worrisome for the industry and economy. All the major sectors including construction, mining, and manufacturing have slowed down during this period. The sales of construction equipment showed a continued decline starting this fiscal year till August. But, from September onwards, the sales of key construction equipment have seen picking up slowly, according to industry sources. The industry is eagerly watching the scenario. A late monsoon has further delayed the construction activity.

Even though the domestic industry is struggling to provide signals of positive growth this year, the export marker has been kinder. The exports of $614.83 million between April and August 2019 were lower by 10 per cent during the same period last year. Crane lifts and winches were at $230.75 million, 23 per cent higher than same period last year. Exports of auto components were lower by 2 per cent at $2.3 billion. Industry captains are looking for a turnaround starting from next year when the measures taken by the government start yielding results.

Bunched up bids for roads are likely to be announced giving a flurry of activity for contractors in the next two months as the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has been lagging behind in its awarding of projects. Off-Highway Research forecasts that the market for construction equipment will dip in 2019 but follow an upward trend thereafter during 2020-2023. This forecast is in line with the sheer amount of infrastructure projects to be executed and completed in the coming years.

Equipment utilisation in the right way and right fit plays a major role in the efficient and productive execution of projects. Optimum utilisation of equipment leads to cost and time saving in a project. Procurement and deployment of equipment and technology matching the project requirement, skilled operators and maintenance personnel for the proper operation and maintenance of the machines, and use of digital and automation solutions wherever possible will lead to optimum utilisation of the machines. The Cover Story explains more on optimum equipment utilisation.

Excon 2019, the largest construction equipment event in South Asia, is being held at a time when the industry is reeling under the pressure of slowdown. However, the construction equipment industry players are optimistic about the turnaround of the industry starting next year as the Excon participants are looking at this platform to bring the momentum back. The Feature on Excon brings forth the exhibitors' views on the market and their plans for the mega event.

Emission compliance is now talk of the town as the next level emission norms are expected to be in place next year. For off-road vehicles, the BS (CEV) IV norms will be implemented from October 2020 as per the current plan. For engine and equipment manufacturers, it's time for designing and developing products and components matching the requirements of the latest regulations. How is the industry preparing for the latest emission regulations? The CASH Feature elaborates. Also read through other regular columns for an overview of the industry.