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Sri Lankan Tyre Crisis 
Posted 29,April

By Chaveendra Dunuwille

In Local News

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With the number of vehicles hitting the road increasing day by day the demand  for good quality tyres has steadily increased along with it. Sri Lanka has  primarily dealt with the increase in demand with a combination of local  manufacturers and imports. However with the worldwide spread of the pandemic  forcing the government to implement trade restrictions the tyre industry in Sri  Lanka is facing a grave crisis. 

To understand the crisis one must understand the roots of such an event, a little  known fact about tyres is that similar to food items they too have an expiration  date. This expiration date is usually inscribed in the form of a 4 digit code on the  side of the tyre. The reason for such a date is that tyres regardless of being in  constant use or being in storage at the optimum conditions become brittle over  time, due to Sri Lanka’s tropical climate it is advised that tyres be replaced every  6 years.  

The most in demand tyre variety at the moment is the Passenger Car Radial  (PCR) variety which is best suited for a multitude of cars and other vehicles. The  largest local manufacturer CEAT produces over 500 000 units per year. The  crisis has been further exacerbated by their being no other prominent local  suppliers. It is recommended that in order to mitigate the crisis that tyres from  local manufacturers primarily focusing on the export market be introduced. 

The crisis has resulted in a multitude of Ludacris social media posts claiming to  sell top quality tyres when in fact they are nothing more than old ‘refurbished’ tyres. Con artists have gone to the extent of selling tyres filled with straw in order  to gain a quick buck. With the use of tyres below the standard quality motorists run a greater risk of getting into accidents involving low quality tyres. Prices of  tyres have also experienced a significant increase due to the shortage.  

TechSci Research Report titled ‘Sri Lanka Tyre Market Forecast & Opportunities  2021’ stated that a growth of 12.59% is forecasted at CAGR for the 2016-2021  time period with the increase in demand for 2 wheeler and 3 wheeler tyres.  

The government has used the pandemic as a means of reorganizing several of its  economic policies. With the implementation of worldwide trade restrictions the  government too has restricted the trade of many exports to promote self sufficiency and is encouraging local producers to increase their production threshold to meet the growing demand. Local producers such as CEAT have gone  on to expand their already impressive portfolio to comply with the government  requests. However if other manufacturers fail to follow the footsteps the tyre  crisis has the potential to get even worse in the foreseeable future.