Indian steelmaker Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) will ramp-up rail manufacturing after getting approval from the Indian Railways for its 60E1 1175 Heat Treated (HT) rails suitable for high-speed and high-axle load applications.
JSPL officials told Davis Index that the company will now focus more on the production of speciality rails than semi-finished steel. With COVID-19 situation in the country gradually subsiding, JSPL expects a “full bloom” in industrial growth and demand for steel from next month till March-April.
Requirement from Indian Railways
Indian Railways have projected a requirement of 180,000mt per annum of high-grade 60E1 1175 Heat Treated (HT) Rails. It already supplies head hardened rails to country’s metro rail corporations and high-speed rail corridors.
Research Designs & Standards Organisation (RDSO) has already approved this rail grade and 1080 HH rails as well as 880 Grade rails for Indian Railways’ utilisation on a regular basis.
Increase in coking coal import
JSPL utilises iron ore from domestic sources for production. It imports coking coal from Australia. With this projected increase in production, the steelmaker is expected to consume 10-15pc more coking coal.
Reduction in import of speciality rails
These speciality rails, equivalent to European R350HT grade with regards to Rail profile and chemistry but follow more stringent quality tests, were till now imported. As the country increases rail production, dependency on imports will reduce significantly.
In 2019, imports of rails were recorded at 60,000mt from Europe, Japan and Russia. These rails will be used in the dedicated freight corridor and high axel load application including bullet trains.
Both, Steel Authority of India (Sail) and JSPL will supply rails to Indian railways. Indian railway’s demand is of 1.5mn mt, of which Sail supplied 1.2mn mt rails and the gap is likely to be fulfilled by JSPL which has a 1mn mt capacity plant in Raigarh.
Ramping-up production for this order
The company has a manufacturing capacity of 60E1 1175 HT Rails at 324,000 mn mt per annum, fulfilling demand for all high-speed projects in India. Occasionally, it exports rails to countries like Bangladesh, Africa and Sri Lanka. It is also supplying specialty rail blooms for special rails to France for European railways.
JSPL has also started supplying 1080 grade Head Hardened rails to several metro Rails projects in India which includes Rail Vikas Nigam Limited for construction of the Kolkata Metro Rail Project and Pune Metro.
Indian Railways has also initiated upgrading the Indian Railway Track system to carry 25mt axle load and up to 200 km/hour speed.