State-run Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) would supply rails for the major railway network expansion plan in Iran.
SAIL has bagged an export contract to supply about 100,000 tonne of rails to Iran from its flagship entity Bhilai Steel Plant (BSP), which has been the sole producer of rail for the company.
The export order for rails is in 18 metre finished lengths. The Plant supplies world class rails to Indian Railways in lengths of 13 and 26 metre from its existing Rail Mill besides 130 and 260 metre rails from its Long Rail Complex.
Since BSP is not producing 18 metre rails as demanded by the authorities in Iran, it is installing new equipment to facilitate the supply.
"Special equipment is being procured from overseas suppliers for creating new facilities in the existing Rail and Structural Mill of BSP,” a company spokesperson told Business Standard. Besides a new Hot Stamping Machine from Germany, BSP is procuring a new NDT (Non-Destructive Testing) facility from Austria.
The new NDT facility would include online straightness measurement, online profile measurement and online twist measurement equipment.
The Mill as well as the Long Rail Complex are already equipped with state of the art facilities for rail finishing and testing including hot stamping and NDT facilities. The new equipment is being procured to cater to the specific needs of the export order to Iran.
The Plant had earlier also exported steel to Iran in 1967, 1969 and 1976. In all, 275,000 tonnes was dispatched from BSP. The country is now planning modernisation and major expansion of its rail network.
Iran plans to invest $25bn over the next ten years in the modernisation and expansion projects. The investment is expected to extend Iran Railways' track length from the current 15,000km to 25,000km by 2025.