India has the world’s second largest road network after the United States of America, with a road infrastructure of over 47,000 km.
The Indian bitumen market that is currently around 5 million tonnes is expected to grow in the future due to the Governments proposed construction projects to upgrade the road network.
Bitumen is used as a binder in road construction and in roofing and waterproofing applications. Almost 90% of the bitumen is used in India is in road construction with the balance of 10% shared equally for roofing and waterproofing.
Nearly 90% of this demand is provided from domestic production of bitumen, whilst the remaining 10% is imported, mainly from the UAE and Iran.
The bitumen currently used in India are either penetration grades, or the currently preferred viscosity grades.
Bitumen handling in India is still mostly done by using traditional methods, which includes heating of bitumen drums on-site in the open. Recently the Government has issued instructions and regulations to provide application methods of bitumen and solutions to eliminate environmental problems in the handling of bitumen.
Bitumen packaging and transportation in India in mainly provided in bulk, or in drums. Other innovative packaging types like polybags are available, but problematic due to the hot climate in India, which causes bitumen to melt in the bags.