Today, we are witnessing a paradigm shift. As the nation undergoes rapid infrastructure development, the contribution of the Steel Industry needs to be unequivocally celebrated. In the words of the industrialist Laxmi Mittal, ‘It’s not about creating a giant, it’s about creating sustainability in the steel industry’. With the Indian Govt. targeting a $5 trillion economy by fiscal 2025, the future of steel is certainly bright.
India produced 22 million tonnes of steel in 1992, ramping up to 142 million tonnes in 2020, making the superpower the second-largest producer of steel in the world.
Just for the sake of record, in the race of overall steel consumption in India, the building & construction industry holds a share of 60-65% today.
©JPC, CRISIL Research
On account of the nation-wide lockdown, the metal lost stream in FY 19-20 & FY 20-21. However, the demand has started compensating the huge blow suffered & is likely to weigh on this year.
Post FY 2020-21, the numerous Government led initiatives on infrastructure, would lead the metal to drive its growth trajectory upward, to 7-7.5%.
Housing schemes (habitation for all class), roads (Bharatmala), ports (Sagarmala), railways (dedicated freight corridors, metros & bullet train) & airports (Udaan), are ventures that are emboldening the nation today.
The Govt. is attempting to infuse investments to drive the economy back to recovery path, by initiating various infrastructure development schemes like;
|Bharatmala Scheme||Construction of 83,000 km. of National Highways|
|Rail Network Augmentation||Freight line de-congestion, metros & high-speed rail|
|Irrigation Projects||Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY).|
|Sanitary & Water Supply||Swachh Bharat Mission & 24 x 7 Jal Jeevan Mission.|
|Ports & Airports||Sagarmala & Udaan Schemes.|
The Potential Steel Demand for Key Government. initiatives on infrastructure front:
One such mammoth project viz. the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail (MAHSR), initiated by National High-Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL), justifies the employment of steel.
This is the first High Speed Rail corridor to be implemented in the Country. With a total twelve stations in Maharashtra, Gujarat & Dadra-Nagar Haveli, the corridor will have a length of 508.17 Km. The MAHSR will operate at a speed of 320 kmph., reducing the current time taken for this route by Railway (approx. 6 hours) to 2 hrs.
MAHSR is estimated to cost US$15 billion i.e., ₹1.1 lakh crore.
The alignment comprises 460.3 km of viaducts, 25.87 km of tunnels (incl. underwater tunnel), 12.9 km of cut-fill & 9.22 km of bridges. These numbers directly indicate that the total steel employed in this project is approx. 21 lakh tonnes.
This colossal amount of steel would take part, in various forms, for construction of;
- About 70,000 MT steel for 28 steel bridges,
- 463 kms. of Via-ducts,
- 08 Mountain Tunnels, 01 Underground & Undersea Tunnel each,
- 12 high speed rail stations,
- 03 Rolling stock Depots,
- 08 Maintenance Depots,
- Sabarmati Passenger Hub,
- HSR Training Institute in Vadodara,
- Multi-Storeyed Parking Lots,
- Skywalks, Overhead Walkways etc.
Most bullet train stations will be designed on a special theme that reflects what the place is known for.
The starting station at BKC Mumbai, is planned to be a three-storey underground station over an area of 5.4 Hectares of Land, Ahmedabad being the last terminal.
Proposed Ahmedabad Station
©NHSRCL MAHSR Archive
The design of Vadodara, a major station on this route, is inspired from the banyan tree. The largest steel girder on the MAHSR, measuring 220 m. in length, will be located here.
The aerial view of the Surat station offers the impression of a diamond. The look at the elevation will seem as if many diamonds are placed along. Even on the inside, caricatures & creatives will have diamond like forms.
Proposed Vadodara & Surat Stations
©NHSRCL MAHSR Archive
The Sabarmati station is inspired by the theme of Dandi March & from an aerial view it will look like a charkha. The Sabarmati Terminal will be the first multimodal transport hub & would provide a single stop access, to not just the bullet train, but also the Indian Railways, the Ahmedabad Metro & a bus transit point. There are arrangements for interchange points on the concourse floor, while a hotel will be hosted by the skyscrapers, accompanied by malls & office complexes. The car park capacity of the complex will be approx. 1,000 nos.
Proposed Sabarmati Station
©NHSRCL MAHSR Archive
The Vapi station will be designed on the lines of a flowing stream of the Damanganga river. Vapi is placed close to the banks of this river.
Proposed Vapi & Anand Stations
The images of these station buildings reveal that, the aesthetics it needs, is simply possible, if the skeleton & supports are fabricated in steel. The potential to serve the aim of accomplishing the task of a theme-based station, maintaining its distinctive physique, lies solely with this metal. There’s plenty more in the box, apart from the external facades, some unique shaped roofs, some thematic appearance of the station building etc. that is kind of typical. It’s the interior fantastic thing about the station buildings.
The station will comprise of 4 floors out of which the concourse floor & the platform floor is entirely dedicated to passenger service & luxury. The aim of highlighting these floors is because the level of passenger luxury provided is one of its kind & too vast in scope. The vast in scope nomenclature, is justified by diverse categories of zones (or rooms) like free concourse, paid concourse, janitor room, nursery room, smoking room, galleries, executive & business class lounges, dining rooms, drinking corners, baggage spaces, cash dispenser rooms, ticketing counters, station staff rooms, meeting rooms, wiring rooms, station master cabin, sewage treatment plant area, water treatment plant area etc. All these zones have different themes of exterior finishes, interior finishes, roofing types, doors & windows, arrangement of luxury etc. It’s tough to virtually envisage the exquisiteness of these elegant zones. All the credit to this, is gripped up by a variety of forms of steel used. To mention some:
- The powder coated steel CNC cut Jali Panels for ventilation on the sides of the roof.
- Hot Dip Galvanized steel for the structural members in walkways & others.
- Dust Proof steel wire meshes as roof drains with stainless steel gratings.
- Stainless steel gutters.
- Stainless steel takedown pipes.
- Fluororesin coated galvalume steel sheets for expansion joints.
- Stainless steel for maintenance ladders.
- Stainless steel for base skirting & baseboard finishes
- Structural steel support for laminated float glass wall panels.
- Stainless steel supports for glass handrails.
- Structural steel supports for PTFE coated fiber fabric with Tio2 (non-transparent) roofs.
- Structural steel supports for ETFE films (transparent) for roof – lighting units.
- Structural steel with epoxy paint finishes for trusses, walkway members & foot over bridges.
- Shear Connectors for railway tracks, catenaries, overhead electric post foundations, cable trays, steel stoppers, temporary trestles etc.
Proposed Ahmedabad Station Entrance Elevation, Concept & Steel Roof Arrangement
So now we know the secret of where this colossal amount of 21 lakh tonnes of steel is going to be used for MAHSR.
Over the medium to long term, we expect to see several new trends that will benefit steel applications.
Proposed Ahmedabad & Sabarmati Stations
Sourced by Author
Focus on shift from RCC to steel structures for better durability, particularly in infra, also bodes well for steel demand growth in the long term. Steel-based structures, though costlier than RCC designs, typically provide better lifecycle value as these comprise nearly two-thirds steel compared with less than a third for RCC structures.
Faster construction time & low maintenance cost, thereby providing better cost economics during its lifecycle & molding construction to achieve techno-feasibility, will place the metal on top of the list. And why not, as they say “the finest steel has been through the hottest fire.”