Bidding for 200 Japanese electric locos on track

Written by Rajat Arora | New Delhi | Updated: Feb 8 2014, 09:51am hrs
With work on the 3,300-km dedicated freight corridor (DFC) picking up, the railways is all set to kickstart the bidding process for buying 200 electric locomotives from Japan.

The procurement is part of India's loan contract with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for the 1,483-km western freight corridor being funded by the Japanese agency.

Member Electrical Railway Board Kulbhushan told FE that in a couple of months the bidding process would be initiated. The bidding documents for the purchase of 200 high-powered electric locomotives from Japan would be issued soon. We are expecting companies such as Toshiba, Kawasaki and Hitachi among others to come forward for the contract, Kulbhushan told FE.

The total size of the contract is expected to be over R4,000 crore. Railways will buy electric locomotives of 9,000 horse power each from Japan for the DFC. It is estimated to cost about R20-22 crore per locomotive. At present it costs about R14 crore for a 6,000-HP loco.

"The import of locomotives from Japan is as per the Japanese loan condition since the western corridor of the DFC is being funded by JICA. Here, we don't have the technology to manufacture these locomotives. There will also be a technology transfer so that these could be manufactured at railways' Chittaranjan loco works factory, a railway board official said.

JICA is giving a loan of 677 billion yen for the western freight corridor that runs from Dadri in Uttar Pradesh to Jawahar Lal Nehru Port trust in Navi Mumbai. The interest for the tied Japanese loan for 40 years is 0.2% but the finance ministry is charging the railways flat 7%, which also includes hedging cost.

The Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation, the implementing agency for the project, would be awarding all civil and system (signaling and telecommunications) contracts by the end of December. The railways has already acquired 95% land for the project.