SAIL gears up to boost production in post-lockdown period as demand bounces back


New Delhi

PSU Maharatna Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) is making plans to boost production at all its plants once the COVID-19 lockdown is lifted and the economy springs back to near-normal levels, Chairman Anil Kumar Chaudhary said on Wednesday.

"I strongly believe that the demand for steel will take off as the lockdown is lifted. Activities in manufacturing, construction, and infrastructure sectors are bound to pick up substantially," Chaudhary told.

"Since the government is concerned over a slowdown in economic growth, activities in steel-consuming industries are bound to pick up which augurs well for the steel sector," said Chaudhary.
During the lockdown which began on March 25, SAIL plants have been operating at half the normal levels. In the first stage, the company plans to enhance this to 75 percent capacity and later synchronize the production with demand.

"On the operations front, we will be scaling up production in line with the demand sentiments of the market which I am expecting will soon show green shoots post-lockdown. We are ready to resume our normal working as and when the situation allows us," said Chaudhary.

Post-COVID, the businesses will reorganize their processes and operations across the countries and sectors, he added. The global shifting of manufacturing bases from China, the United States and Europe may take place gradually.

"Contactless working interfaces are gaining importance. E-commerce is also evolving fast and the use of online platforms is gaining traction. Conventional businesses will also have takeaways from the current crisis which has impacted the overall business scenario," said the SAIL Chairman.
The government-owned enterprise produced 16.15 million tonnes of crude steel during the financial year 2019-20 which was the highest among all other steel producers in the country. SAIL has also achieved the best ever annual sales of 14.5 million tonnes with a growth of 2.8 percent over the corresponding period last year.

During FY20, SAIL launched its branded SeQR TMT bars, a product that is a notch higher in its class in terms of various quality and safety aspects. In the first year of launch, about two lakh tonnes of branded SAIL SeQR TMT bars were sold.

"We also recorded the highest ever rail production of 12.85 lakh tonnes of UTS 90 prime rails in FY20 with a 30 percent growth year-on-year. We recorded the best ever despatch of 12,994 numbers of WAG9 wheels for electric locomotives, a product which is an import substitution," said Chaudhary.

The company's strategies to expand its market portfolio also yielded the highest ever exports of 1.18 million tonnes during FY20 which marked 54 percent growth over the year-ago period. It is also developing and introducing a wider range of value-added and market-oriented products to expand reach in the global markets.

"As I see the future post-lockdown, production across sectors will be scaled up and it will have cascading positive impact on the steel industry," said Chaudhary.

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