Engineering industries, for which Tiruchi is an Asian hub, are upbeat about the prospect of manufacturing of containers by the hitherto power equipment behemoth, BHEL.
Six months back, the BHEL had sought the consent of the BHEL Small Industries Association to fabricate components for container manufacture.
"Our machinery and expertise matches the requirements of BHEL, Tiruchi, which is in the process of testing prototypes of containers and electric buses," Rajappa Rajkumar, president of BHELSIA said.
The engineering cluster in Tiruchi region also has the capability for undertaking bus body building. "The weld-finish of industries in Tiruchi is unparallelled," Mr. Rajappa Rajkumar said, adding: "To begin with, we would like the BHEL to follow-up on our consent for manufacture of components for containers for which there is enormous demand within and outside the country."
The Container Corporation (Concor), a subsidiary of Indian Railways, has been importing about 10,000 containers every year from China. To reduce dependency on China, the Railway Ministry had, last year, gave orders to BHEL and Braithwaite, a Railways PSU, for manufacturing 1,000 containers each to begin with.
"We reckon that the BHEL Corporation is in a strong position to expedite sourcing of orders from Railways and the Defence sector as well," Mr. Rajappa Rajkumar said.
The plan of the Railways to procure 30,000 wagons every year for the next three years would translate into huge business for the BHEL, he said.
According to industry watchers, the existing manufacturers have a combined capacity to produce only 50 percent of the requirement every year. The plan of the Railways to double its carrying capacity of freight to more than 2,400 million tonnes with construction of dedicated corridors, and the scaling up of the internal target or freight loading from less than four million tonnes per day to more than five million tonnes would warrant entry of more industries into wagon manufacture, they point out.