Indian Railways has for the first time committed to supply 34 high-power locomotives to Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) over the next three years. This has been finalised as per the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between SAIL and Indian Railways at SAIL’s Corporate Office here today. The MoU has been signed with a primary objective of enabling the steel major to meet its increased requirement of material handling under its growth plan.
Procurement of high-power locomotives is a strategic initiative by SAIL to utilise its logistical capabilities to the fullest potential. These locos will enable faster movement of materials on full-rake basis, leading to a substantial reduction in detention time for the railway wagons. This will be possible since the time between taking over and handing over of the railway wagons will now get reduced.
All the locomotives committed for SAIL under the MoU will be manufactured at Panvel in Mumbai, where a branch of the Indian Railways’ Diesel Locomotives Workshop (DLW), Varanasi has been set up. As a result of the confirmed orders from SAIL, the new workshop at Panvel now remains completely booked for the next three years.
SAIL mainly uses the rail-borne module for transportation of raw materials and finished products and requires locomotives as well as wagons for undertaking the requirement of movement of materials. The availability of quality locomotives will be crucial as SAIL plans to raise its steel production from the current level of 13 million tonnes (MT) to 22 MT by the year 2010. The total tonnage of material required to be transported through locos will thus increase from the current level of around 60 MT per annum to 100 MT per annum. On an average, every tonne of steel produced involves handling of 4 to 5 times of input as well as output of materials over and above the internal movement of materials.
The MoU has been designed as a part of SAIL’s plan to modernise and standardise the locomotives in all its steel plants, which currently have around 260 locomotives in more than 10 different varieties. Out of these, around 140 locomotives are from DLW, Varanasi under the category of high horsepower locomotives (1350 HP).
DLW, Varanasi has been manufacturing locomotives mainly for inhouse consumption by the Indian Railways and has also supplied locomotives to several industries both in India and abroad. SAIL continues to be the largest customer of DLW, Varanasi in the non-railway sector.