The imports come after a six-month lull during which shipments into the country came to a halt.
“Tyre companies are importing basically since we anticipate shortage of rubber. Contracts have been signed and consignments will begin arriving from April onwards,” said D. Ravindran, director-general of the Automotive Tyre Manufacturers Association, the apex body of tyre makers in the country.
The peak-tapping season is coming to an end and for the tyre companies the peak production season is set to begin. During the peak production season, tapping would be on a low key what with monsoon setting in.
The tyre sector consumes 54% of the total rubber produced in the country. Last year, production was 755,000 tonnes, while this year it is estimated to touch 786,000 tonnes. Imports are reported to have totalled 68,718 tonnes in 2005. However, according to the newspaper tyre makers feel the production growth of around five per cent may not match the consumption growth of 5.5%.
Tyre companies import natural rubber duty-free under open general licence against export of tyres. They can import 44 tonnes of natural rubber for every 100 kilos of tyre exported.