Railways begin work on export policy
Railways recently exported the first set of Diesel Electric Multiple Units to Sri Lanka from Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai. ICF has exported coaches and coach components to various countries like Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Mozambique, Angola, Nigeria and Uganda.Updated: Nov 23, 2018 23:48 IST
Indian Railways is working on an export policy under which top officials from the country’s coach factories will be able to visit other countries to seek bulk orders for train coaches. The absence of an export policy has impeded the ability of state-run factories to seek regular overseas orders, after executing the last order for coaches, from Sri Lanka, in 2010-12.
The railways is looking at Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Africa for potential customers under the proposed policy, seeking alternative sources of revenue by capitalising on the cost advantage offered by its coach factories, which build train cars up to a fifth cheaper than overseas competitors. The policy will empower officials of the rank of general managers and above to take decisions and sew up deals quickly.
“Manufacturing coaches is one part where we have good capacity and we can maintain international standards as well. Also, the cost per coach will be 20-25% less than what is there in other parts of the world. If a policy is in place, we will be able to take frequent orders and our officials won’t have to take approval for every decision. They will be free to take decisions,” said Rajesh Aggarwal, member (rolling stock) of the Railway Board.
Aggarwal said that even to travel abroad, an official now needs to seek approval from the railway ministry and Railway Board.
“We have been doing exports through RITES, but with export policies, we will be able to take direct orders,” Railway board chairman Ashwani Lohani said. RITES is a state-run consulting company that specialises in transport infrastructure.
Railways recently exported the first set of Diesel Electric Multiple Units to Sri Lanka from Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai. ICF has exported coaches and coach components to various countries like Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Mozambique, Angola, Nigeria and Uganda.
“ICF is expecting another order from Sri Lanka railways for export of 160 coaches and the modalities are being worked out along with RITES Ltd. Advanced levels of negotiations are going on between Indian Railways and Bangladesh Railways for export of coaches from ICF,” said S Mani, general manager of ICF.
Railway is prepared to manufacture both standard and meter gauge coaches and Modern Coach Factory at Raebareli in Uttar Pradesh is being expanded to increase capacity.
“The capacity of coach factory in Indian Railway is good and underdeveloped countries can be a good market for India. But quality should be maintained in order to get good revenue,” said RK Singh, former chairman of the Railway Board.