Following on from the recent blog about the advantages of importing Natural Stone Paving from India this blog details some of the disadvantages of importing Natural Stone from India.
One thing that comes up time and time again is adverse weather problems. We have had some real issues this year with our Midnight Black Limestone Paving product. We source our Indian Black Limestone Paving from the south of India and it’s one of London Stone’s most popular Paving products. There have been some severe weather conditions at Chennai port over the past six months and this resulted in us having four full container loads of Black Limestone stuck at Chennai port and unable to be shipped. The result was that we have been out of stock of this material now for the best part of 2 months. We face these types of problems every monsoon season. We source all of our Indian Sandstone Paving from Rajasthan and I was there recently in August during the monsoon season. It was quite an awesome sight so see roads turned into raging torrents of water. We have also faced huge problem in procuring raw material for our Beige & Harvest Sawn Sandstone Paving because of quarries and production sites becoming completely water logged
Another problem we have in India are labour problems and strikes. Contrary to what people think workers are well organised in certain sectors of India, especially the ports. Chennai port in particular has been really disrupted in 2011 by a number of strikes; this was another main reason why the stocks of our Black Limestone Paving have been so disrupted in 2011.
One of the biggest concerns for London Stone has been the ethical implications of trading in India. We addressed this by becoming corporate members of the ETI. Although there are still areas for concern, generally India is making huge strides in terms of the treatment and pay and condition of workers. One thing that has really helped is the mechanisation of the Indian Sandstone Paving industry. As the popularity of Calibrated Sandstone and Sawn Sandstone has grown we have seen improvements in infrastructure, staff training and technology which in time will transform the Natural Stone Paving industry in India