India’s Lubricant Exports Grow


MUMBAI, India – Indias lubricant blenders boosted their finished lubricant exports since 2014 by targeting developing regions where lubricant demand is growing, despite heavy competition from existing international and local brands, an industry insider said.

The lubricant markets in most of the more developed countries are stagnant, but the markets in regions such as Asia, Central and South America as well Africa are growing, said Girish Jain, general manager for lube exports, at government-owned Indian Oil Corp., which exports Servo-branded lubricants to 30 countries.

Indias finished lubricant exports, excluding greases and base oils, reached nearly U.S. $94 million in 2018, up 70 percent from 2014, Jain said at the ICIS Indian Base Oils & Lubricants Conference in Mumbai. About 50 percent of Indias lube exports in 2018 went to South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation nations – which include Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka – followed by the Middle East, Africa and other regions.

He said the countrys top 10 partner countries for lubricant exports are Nepal, Bangladesh, Australia, Sri Lanka, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Bhutan, Sudan, Singapore and Iraq.

Jain noted that India produces process oils – which includes white oils, rubber process oils and transformer oil – in bulk, and the country exports these products in huge volumes.

According to United States-based consultancy Kline & Co., India is a net exporter of process oils due to surplus production capacity and ships its products to Africa, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific. The country exported about 250,000 to 300,000 tons of white oils and about 50,000 to 60,000 tons of electrical oils in 2017.

Jain said despite its domestic lubricant blenders numerous strengths, India faces certain challenges in the export market as the market is crowded with several players. These challenges include competition with existing international and local brands, low presence in the branded lubricant segment, limited brand recognition beyond SAARC nations, meeting statuary requirements and difficulty in product differentiation, he noted. We have oils meeting all the specifications across the range, Jain said, adding that this can be offered to the export market.

To overcome some of these challenges, lubricant marketers should create a brand and focus on advertising and promotions in the target market, Jain recommended. He advised companies to do studies on the market potential, existing products and prices, competition and regulations before entering new markets.

Jain also said the companies should know the distribution channels and costs as well as assess branding, advertising and promotion requirement with its costs. He added channel partner selection is very critical because in initial phases the companies will depend on the distributor and changing a distributor very soon will not help in establishing the brand easily in the market.

And above all, you need to be prepared for the long haul if you want to acquire the new [export] market, Jain emphasized.

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Asia    Business    Finished Lubricants    India    Region