Faggan Singh Kulaste, Minister of State for Steel has assured the industry that the government was taking all necessary steps to reduce the logistics cost in India help the end users.
Addressing the webinar ‘Supportive Logistics for Indian Iron & Steel Industry – Ek Kadam Atmanirbharta ki Aur’, by the industry chamber FICCI, Kulaste said, “The government is already working on multimodal infrastructure projects like Bharatmala, Sagarmala and Dedicated Freight Corridors (DFCs) in the logistics sector, which will benefit the industry. Once these projects are completed, both production cost and time will be reduced.”
Kulaste said that as per the National Steel Policy, the country needed to create capacity of 300 million tonnes (MT) by 2030-31 and 255 MT of crude steel to be produced. “We would be needing large infrastructure to handle this. In order to promote the prime minister’s vision of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ or self-reliant India and ‘Make in India’, it is imperative that industry focuses on reducing the production cost and the overall cost including the logistics costs,” he added.
Enumerating the importance of cluster-based industry approach, he said that more and more down-stream companies should come up near the steel plant like direct reduced iron (DRI), pellet and sponge iron plant. This would also help in reducing the logistics cost.
“We must emphasise on cluster-based industry approach, adopt newer technologies along with reducing inventory and other costs. The industry must come forward in ensuring these,” he added.
Rasika Chaube, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Steel said that the government was aware of the challenges faced by the steel industry and is taking appropriate steps to overcome these.
“The ministry is working with all concerned ministries to ensure that the industry and sector gets the benefit. Steel and iron ore are important components under the DFC project. The government has already announced the national waterways project and we have mapped the state wise industry requirement for logistics and are working towards the same,” she said.
Pankaj Satija, Senior Member, FICCI Steel Committee and Chief Regulatory Affairs, Tata Steel Ltd said that it was important that the government expedite the process of road and railway expansion in order to meet the future demands. “As we are moving towards lower grade ore, the slurry pipeline is the only viable option,” he added.
VR Sharma, Co-Chair, FICCI Steel Committee & Managing Director, Jindal Steel & Power Ltd said that the steel industry was committed to achieving the goals of Atmanirbhar Bharat.
“We can produce and meet all those steel requirements ranging from defence to pipeline related which are required to make India Atmanirbhar. We can reduce the steel imports as well,” said Sharma.
Alok Sahay, Convener, FICCI Steel Logistics Sub-Committee & Executive Director (Commercial), SAIL said that there was a need for rail freight concession on long-distance movement of iron ore. He also highlighted the challenges faced by the industry in rail transportation and suggested remedial measures for the same.
Addressing the panel discussion, RK Pandey, Member (Projects), National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) said that the government was coming up with new dedicated greenfield corridors under the Bharatmala project which would help reduce the logistics cost.
Dr. SK Ahirwar, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Commerce & Industry said his department was already in the process of introducing a new logistics policy along with a dedicated national logistics portal.
SP Singh, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, Vijay Kumar, Joint Adviser, NITI Aayog, DK Rai, Director (Sagarmala), Ministry of Shipping and Arvind Choudhary, Director (Port Infrastructure), Ministry of Shipping also highlighted various initiatives undertaken by the government to support the industry.