Tipper trucks market gearing up
Construction and mining are the major demand drivers of tippers and dump trucks. New and expansion projects in construction, overburden removal and movement of minerals in mining sites, and aggregate transportation at quarries drive the demand for tippers and dump trucks. The Covid-19 related issues have pulled down the growth of construction and mining growth in the country during April-June 2020. However, the market is picking up gradually starting from this July and is looking for a revival with the roads and highways and mining activities are expected to pick up considerably in the coming years.

Demand trend

According to RT Wasan, Vice President, Product Line, M&HCV, Tata Motors, the sales of the tipper trucks are majorly driven by the government initiatives in the construction and mining sector and this has accelerated even further during the post- lockdown phase as the major projects resumed operations in addition to the announcement of new projects. “The M&HCV tipper trucks segment was one of the first segments to report growth in the post-lockdown phase and continues to look positive, primarily on the back of resumption of construction and mining activities as well as the announcement of new projects,” says Wasan.

Demand has picked up for tippers from roads and highways sector after most of the projects are back on track. However, other construction segments are slowly coming back to normal operations as the demand pick up will be slow here. Mining has seen major demand push recently with coal mining picking up. While majority of Indian coal mines are open cast mines, the growth in mining operations will require more tipper trucks for overburden removal.

Gagandeep Singh Gandhok, Senior Vice President – HD Truck Business, VECV, shares the positive trend in mining market, “Coal production recorded a growth in the last two months, compared to the same period last year, which is very encouraging for tipper market. We see that the coal requirement is picking up now. The manufacturing segment is driving more demand and the coal requirement will move up in the coming months.”

Production & sales scenario

The Covid-19 pandemic impacted the tipper trucks segment badly in the April-June period after the construction industry slumped to an all-time low during this period. After the first phase of lockdown relaxation, the market showed signs of recovery. Wasan adds, “With the pick-up in demand from June onwards, post the initial lockdown phase, we have been gearing up for the increase in production month on month to meet this strong growth we are seeing for the tippers. We are also seeing a shift in the portfolio of tippers as there is an increasing salience of the higher powered and higher tonnage tippers, as customers are benefiting from the increased productivity of such vehicles.”

Gandhok says, “In October, we have recorded 11 per cent increase in tipper sales over last year. We are on the right path and look forward for the commercial vehicle industry to bounce back as the market is recovering slowly and steadily.”

Technology trends

Starting April, the tipper trucks market shifted from the BS-IV emission norms to the new norms of BS-VI, which was the most important technology development in the market. Major players were all prepared for the new emission requirements as per the regulations. Says Wasan, “The BS-VI range of Tata Motors M&HCVs is equipped with powerful Cummins and Turbotronn engines which, along with global BS-VI emission control technology and multi-mode fuel economy switch offer best-in-industry fuel efficiency.”

Another major technology trend was the adoption of new digital features by the players in their operations. For instance Gandhok adds, “A major step in this direction is the setting up of Uptime Centre to provide connected service to our customers. Since this August, all our trucks are connected with the Uptime Centre at Pithampur, which is an industry-first initiative.”

Market outlook

According to Wasan, the industry after a complete bottoming out in Q1 this year is seeing a strong month-on-month growth from July to October and this growth is expected to continue in the coming months as well. “The national infrastructure pipeline and the government’s push and investment in the infrastructure-led industries is going to be significant directly impacting the demand for M&HCV trucks and tippers.”

Gandhok shares more, “Though the first half of this year has been quite challenging, the market is now improving. Last month, the heavy-duty truck market was up by 8 per cent over last year, which is encouraging. We see a huge pent-up demand going forward. With segments such as infrastructure, mining, ecommerce and the auto industry are picking up, I am sure that the market will bounce back and it is only a matter of time for the demand to come back.”

With the infrastructure development activities on and the mining sector on a revival path, the tipper trucks market is sure to pick up in the coming years.