For some time India has been a key sourcing region for retail products and in particular textiles; this has increased in recent years due to Chinese price inflation. Last year David Cameron expressed his desire for a “special relationship” with India when he visited with the largest trade delegation ever to accompany a British prime minister to any country in the world. This isn’t surprising given India’s total trade valued at $765 billion and exports increasing 4.7% between FY 2013 – 2014 to $314 billion. The reason behind this is largely due to the economic impact of the new government: the automotive, pharmaceutical and retail sector have all grown in the last financial year. New Government initiatives and foreign investment from USA, China and Japan have also given the Indian economy a real boost.
The Indian sub-continent is an increasingly important commercial market for Allport Cargo Services for this very reason. India now exports more to the UK than it imports: during FY13 – 14, India’s merchandise exports to UK grew by about 13.5%. Garments, mineral fuels, automotive components, nuclear reactors and boilers, and footwear are the top five exports to the UK.
However, India is a challenging market to operate in. The infrastructure is challenging and it’s a large country with key sourcing regions at its centre. This makes getting goods out problematic. Increase in demand requires innovative solutions to overcome these challenges. Allport Cargo Services has developed a multi-country consolidation option in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Here product is consolidated from Pakistan, the East and West coast of India and Bangladesh for onward distribution. This has proved to be especially powerful if used as a regional consolidation and pick hub going out to global franchise markets, rather than just the UK. Allport Cargo Services holds the only license in Tuticorin, India, to quality inspect garments at the container freight station before passing ownership to the consignee. We already work with Dunnes Stores, Next, George at ASDA and New Look all over the Indian sub-continent.
Looking to the future, now that political stability has settled down in Colombo, many companies are looking at Sri Lanka more earnestly as a market with great potential: following the path created by retailers and clothing brands for some time. Sri Lanka is also a main port call, with fast transits to Europe, where as Indian ports and Bangladesh (Chiitagong) rely on feeder connections – typically into either Sri Lanka or Singapore – for onward connection. Reports last week claimed that India has bold plans to increase total exports to over $900 billion in the next five years with a focus on high-value items. Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of State in the Ministry of Commerce & Industry has said that new initiatives to help improve the ease of doing business in India will help to facilitate this. One thing is for certain: innovative solutions to ensure timely, accurate executions of shipments are going to be crucial as this serious expansion in exports across the Indian sub-continent continues.
Author: Clyde Buntrock, Group Marketing & Business Development Director.