New Delhi: Apex chamber ASSOCHAM today voiced concern over poor logistics infrastructure for supply of iron ore and coal for the steel industry, and said slurry pipelines should be included in the list of industries with infrastructure status to address bulk transportation needs of the sector.
Moving iron ore and coal by pipelines in slurry form has advantages like low operating costs, higher availability and environment friendly. Existing railway lines are almost reaching a saturation point, said The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).
“While augmenting railways infrastructure is important, slurry pipelines may eventually re-invent raw material transportation for the iron and steel industry,” it said in recommendations for the National Steel Policy being formulated. In 2008 the Planning Commission included pipelines for water and oil and gas eligible for infrastructure status but slurry pipelines were not, despite being recommended by the Rangarajan Committee.
The chamber said road and rail connectivity at the Braganza Ghat section near Goa must be doubled as the port’s capacity is being expanded manifold. Rail connectivity from Jaigarh port should be provided up to Kohlapur so that steel manufacturing units in Hospet Bellary region can benefit.
The ports proposed on Karnataka coast will depend on completion of Hubli-Ankola and Talguppa-Honavar rail lines to service the steel industry efficiently. ASSOCHAM said smaller ports too need to be provided with four-lane highways so that movement of imported coking coal can be improved.
“Finished steel products need to be moved expeditiously from the plants to ports as dynamic market conditions place heavy strains on logistic systems to deliver products to consumers in the shortest possible time at economical costs.”
Development of national highway 63 and state highways connecting Bellary to Chitradurga, Hubli and Solapur will allow multi-axle load vehicles to speedily move freight of finished steel to south India, it said.