Ravin Mirchandani, Director at Mack Valves, explained how the industrial gases industry has come together during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, as part of the Spotlight on 2021: The Industrial Gas Year So Far webinar.
Speaking on the webinar, sponsored by Anova, Mirchandani, who has been on the ground in India for the duration of the pandemic, said, “The entire industrial gas industry in India has been at the forefront of trying to help the situation and alleviate it.”
“This thing [Covid-19] has made a big impact on industry which came together in a way that we’ve never seen before – and that’s perhaps been the silver lining in all of this.”
India has seen the third highest death toll in the world from Covid-19, killing nearly 400,000 people and in April 2021 faced a devastating oxygen shortage.
Recalling the scenes, Mirchandani said, “The infrastructure is challenged at points, and so you had tanker trucks that were put on trains, called Oxygen Express, which moved between cities. It was much faster to the to do that by train.”
“So you have it, you have an incredible imposition on demand and an industry that has not been able to forecast such a big surge in demand because we’ve never seen a black swan event like this, which meant that we had to think of other creative ways. There was ISO containers that were put on ships, there were ISO containers from Singapore and Dubai and the Gulf that came on planes.
“Many, many countries supported India through the process, including the French Government, the German government, the American Government sending oxygen plants.”
Looking towards the future, and the possibility of a third wave, Mirchandani added: “There is talk of a third wave, but it’s quite heartening to see the amount of investment that’s been made both by government and also the industrial gases industry in India to help the country prepare for a third way. No one can say what it will be.”
“We were all experts in Corona in 2020 thinking it’ll go away and here we are again in 2021 thinking the second wave is it and we’re ready for a third. But this pandemic has a way of surprising everybody and making all the experts look like idiots - so I can’t tell you what will happen.”
Mirchandani’s discussion comes shortly after Air Liquide and Linde came to an agreement to improve access to medical oxygen.
He concluded, “It’s heartening to see how all differences are put aside and all companies, big and small, whether they were oxygen resellers, oxygen pillars or the large syndicated multinational companies came together to help the country through this.”
“As an industry, on behalf of the industry in India, I would also like to say thank you to all the global players that helped India through this crisis.”
To watch Mirchandani’s talk with gasworld TV in full click here. Alternatively, you can watch the Spotlight on 2021: The Industrial Gas Year So Far webinar in full here.