Container shortage hampering Bajaj Auto's exports

by Shahkar Abidi 23 Jan 2021

Representation image of a container freight section in Mumbai. (Image: APM Terminals)

Bajaj Auto, which has been a standout performer on the export front in Q3 by notching handsome 26% YoY growth by shipping 608,398 units (Q3 FY2020: 484,183), could have performed even better had it not been for a shortage of shipping containers.

The company is facing headwinds due to the lack of container unavailability at ports, which is resulting in about 50 percent of its export orders getting pushed over to subsequent months. This problem is unlikely to get resolved anytime soon and could take 2-3 months to subside. This is resulting in the inventory at dealer level lagging behind the retail sales, the company management informed investors recently.

The ongoing container shortage, which is hampering exports of India Auto Inc as well as other industry, is a fallout of the export-import gap arising out of the Covid-19 pandemic over the past nine months. While exports have been on the rise, imports into India have seen a substantial fall. It is this gap which has created a shortage in available containers from shipping companies. Between July and October 2020, shipments from India in terms of volume rose by around 24% but imports reduced by 28% year on year. 

The importance of Bajaj Auto to the overall Indian two-wheeler industry’s performance can be gleaned from the fact that the company accounts for 57% of total Indian OEM shipments of 21,72,015 units (-19%) in the period under review  (see table below). The No. 2 two-wheeler exporter is TVS Motor Co with 479,941 units (-6.86%), followed by Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India with 139,725 units (-44%) and India Yamaha Motor, with 119,471 units (-50%).

For Bajaj Auto, the bulk of the exports are from the Boxer, CT, Discover and Platina which together account for 699,117 units or 56% of total exports for the company.

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