Faggan Singh Kulaste, Minister of State for Steel, Govt of India has assured the industry that the government is taking all necessary steps to ensure that logistics costs is reduced which will also help the end users.
Addressing the FICCI webinar titled ‘Supportive Logistics for Indian Iron & Steel Industry. Ek Kadam Aatma Nirbharta ki Aur’, Kulaste said, “The government is already working on multimodal infrastructure projects like Bharatmala, Sagarmala, Dedicated Freight Corridors 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, we need to create capacity of 300 million tonnes by 2030-31 and 255 million tonne of crude steel to be produced. “We would need large infrastructure to handle this. In order to promote the PM’s vision of Aatma Nirbhar Bharat and Make in India, it is imperative that industry focuses on reducing the production cost and the overall cost, including the logistics costs.”
Enumerating the importance of cluster-based industry approach, Kulaste said that more and more down-stream companies should come up near the steel plant like DRI, pellet and sponge iron plant. This will 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,” Kulaste said.
Rasika Chaube, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Steel said that the government is 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 Dedicated Freight Corridor project. The government has already announced the national waterways project and we have mapped the state wise industry requirement for logistics & are working towards the same.”
Pankaj Satija, Senior Member, FICCI Steel Committee and Chief Regulatory Affairs, Tata Steel Ltd said that it is important for the government to 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.”
V R Sharma, Co-Chair, FICCI Steel Committee and MD, Jindal Steel & Power Ltd said the steel industry is 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.”
Alok Sahay, Convener, FICCI Steel Logistics Sub-Committee & ED (Commercial), Steel Authority of India (SAIL) said that there is a need for rail freight concession on long-distance movement of iron ore. He also highlighted upon the challenges faced by the industry in rail transportation & suggested remedial measures for the same.
Addressing the panel discussion, R K Pandey, Member (Projects), NHAI said that the government is coming up with new dedicated greenfield corridors under the Bharatmala project which will help reduce the logistics cost.
Dr S K Ahirwar, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Commerce & Industry said that the ministry is already in the process of introducing new Logistics Policy along with a dedicated National Logistics Portal.
S P Singh, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Road Transport & Highways; Mr Vijay Kumar, Joint Adviser, NITI Aayog, Mr D K Rai, Director (Sagarmala), Ministry of Shipping; Mr Arvind Choudhary, Director (Port Infrastructure), Ministry of Shipping also highlighted various initiatives undertaken by the government to support the industry.