By Rutam Vora
Demand in the country in 2012-13 showed healthy growth of 10-11 per cent, led by healthy growth from the detergents and chemicals segments (that from the flat glass and bottle glass industries witnessed below-par growth). However, a large part of the demand was met by rising imports, up 15-20 per cent to around 650,000 tonnes.
Prices of soda in India have been largely stable since October 2012, when these were Rs 1,150 for 50 kg. In March, it was around Rs 1,165 for 50 kg. The cost of shipments is an issue. A little over 80 per cent of the country's soda ash making capacities are in Gujarat. "For every tonne transported from Gujarat to the southern and eastern markets, the logistic costs are $75-80 a tonne. Whereas for the Chinese and European manufacturers, the logistic costs are only $35-40 a tonne to these ports," said a senior official in Gujarat Heavy Chemicals Ltd. "Despite this, we're producing to capacity."
Recognising the problem, the government has imposed anti-dumping duties on some exporting countries. A final notification on Russia and Turkey is pending.