Railways gives a leg-up to stainless steel industry

Written by Sajan C Kumar | Chennai | Updated: Sep 17 2009, 04:42am hrs
Despite the lull in the business activities owing to slowdown in the economy, the stainless steel industry is looking up, piggybacking on the increased demand from the railways. The railways has placed order for 1,500 stainless steel wagons and coaches besides steel peripherals, which can be extensively used inside the compartments. Talks are also under way with major manufacturers to place orders for stainless steel fixtures at the railway stations. The railway ministry had in its last budget, announced the plan to create word-class facilities at the major railway stations.

However, the major order from the railways will be for railway tracks. The railways has a long-term plan to replace all its existing lines with the rust-free stainless steel ones, there by saving crores of rupees which may otherwise go into replacing the tracks in regular intervals. In the first phase, railways has decided to replace 500 km of its track with stainless steel and order for the same is been given to leading manufacturers, said Hitendra Bhalaria, co-chairman, Indian Stainless Development Organisation (ISDO), the umbrella oganisation that spearheads the campaign for increased use of stainless steel in India. Jindal Stainless, Shah Alloys, Viraj Alloys, Electrotherm, Valley Iron and Steel Co are some of the leading manufacturers of stainless steel in the country. After the utensils sector, the railways orders are boosting our production and with more metro railways being constructed in Hyderabad, Chennai and Kochi, the stainless steel industry is going to get a major leg-up, he said.

India is approximately producing 2.5 million tonne of stainless steel of which 70% is being used in utensil sector. The construction industry is the major customer of the sector, with high-rise buildings and towers increasingly opting for stainless steel. The transport sector, which offlate has taken to using stainless steel parts, contributes to the order book of the major companies.

Elaborating on the awareness programmes of ISDO, he said, considering the huge potentiality in Indian as well as global market, the steel-body is organising what could be termed as the worlds first stainless steel fair in Ahmedabad from January 16-19, 2010. The fair will provide meeting ground for all stakeholders such as manufacturers, businessmen and end-users. In order to promote the fair, ISDO has organised take-off meetings at Ahmedabad, New Delhi, Rajkot, Jodhpur, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore. Around 800 exhibitors from India and 30 from abroad will display their products, which include utensils, house ware, hard ware, tubes and pipe, furniture, jewellery and machinery.

While world stainless steel demand is likely to rise 4.9% per year to 2010, demand in India and China is presumed to be 7% per year and 8.45% per year respectively. Projections for 2010 to 2015 suggest a 4.25% annual growth in worldwide stainless steel demand, with growth reaching 7.7% per year for India and 6.2% per year for China.