JCBL operating at full capacity, expects to reach pre-pandemic levels by end of FY2023

In the post-pandemic world, road transport in India is resuming at a very rapid pace. In this space, the luxury bus market deserves a special mention. The series of lockdowns in the country and the general avoidance of shared mobility in a Covid-scarred ecosystem has led to huge demand depletion. However, recent data and views from industry stakeholders indicate that the worst may be over and the segment is slowly getting back on track.

Looking specifically at intercity luxury transportation, nearly 35-40% of services have now been restored, according to industry leaders. Although a good majority of people still prefer private vehicles, the trend and steady increase in demand for luxury buses is encouraging.

With the increase in demand, the range of options is also expanding, especially electric offerings. In fact, Sanjeev Babbar, Director of JCBL, said: “All major players are focusing on electric buses for mass mobility in cities. Thus, all attention is now turned to the electric wallet. »

He added that the share of electric mobility in the segment after the pandemic represents almost “8-10% in active urban applications, around 25-30% in school and staff transport and the rest in public transport”. .

Babbar pointed out that JCBL’s portfolio of mobility solutions caters to around 8-10% of long distance applications. “We have a few orders in progress for sleeper coaches and intercity buses. There is an evolution in the sense that all high-end operators want exclusive products when it comes to electric mobility. Almost all major OEMs offer fully integrated solutions,” he explained. He gave the example of Prawas which launched a complete solution in terms of sleeper coaches and intercity buses.

This therefore requires that manufacturers also be aligned to provide such buses. Indicating the changing dynamics of the business, Babbar highlighted how “the chassis and body application which was big business before the pandemic has declined due to regulatory requirements. At the end of the day, if it’s not a very custom solution required by the carrier or the end customer, people still prefer to go with a solution built entirely by the OEM themselves.

On the plus side, Babbar believes this also leads to a “financing price advantage where they buy a fully built solution from the OEM or resellers and get a price advantage.”

Speaking specifically about JCBL’s growth prospects and the type of growth they expect, Babbar said the company is likely to register “nearly 3,500 passenger applications and around 1,500 infrastructure-related cargo applications. , mining and trailers. 60% of our sales are passenger applications and 40% are freight applications. He reiterated that “we have a comprehensive portfolio when it comes to our business. Over the past 6-7 months we have been operating at full capacity. We expect to reach pre-pandemic numbers by the end of this year. »

Carol N. Valencia