L&T – IHI Infrastructure consortium bags contract for Procurement and Fabrication of 28 steel bridges for Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail corridor

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The National High speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) has awarded a Contract for Procurement and Fabrication of 28 steel bridges (Super structure) for crossing over railway lines, rivers, highways, road and other structures (P-4 Package) for Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail Corridor, on 25 Jan 2021.

  • The contract of award Value of INR 1390 Cr has been awarded to Larson & Toubro –IHI Infrastructure Systems (Consortium). 
  • This is a consortium of Indian and Japanese companies.
  • It is estimated that about 70,000 MT of Steel will be used for the fabrication of these steel bridges and Indian Steel industries and their allied supply chains will get a big boost. 
  • Indian steel manufacturers will be providing quality steel for the fabrication of super structures for these steel bridges. 
  • NHSRCL has already sensitized the Indian steel industries to cater such a huge demand for India’s first High Speed Rail corridor.
  • NHSRCL has already awarded civil contracts for the construction of 64% of MAHSR alignment which includes five (5) HSR stations (Vapi, Billimora, Surat, Bharuch, Anand/Nadiad, Train depot at Surat and One Mountain Tunnel of 350 metres.

Additional Information:

  • Out of the total length of 508 km, a maximum stretch of the Mumbai Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail (MAHSR) will be covered by the viaduct, which excludes the 21 km long tunnel near Mumbai. 
  • The MAHSR alignment over viaduct (487km) will span over National Highways, Dedicated Fright Corridor Tracks (DFC), Indian Railways Tracks and rivers at many locations. 
  • Most of the viaduct is being made of concrete (PSC box, Girder). 
  • However, where the span requirement will be more than 60 meters, steel superstructures have been planned, as beyond a point PSC structures become heavy and steel superstructures are considered to be more viable and efficient.

Decision to include the fabrication of steel bridges by Indian companies:

In total, 28 steel bridges with individual spans varying from 60 meters to 130 meters will be constructed for the project. The length of all the steel bridges put together will be approximately 4.5 km and their construction would involve more than 70,000 tons of steel fabrication. 

  • For this purpose, at initial stages, the steel super structure work was assigned to Japan Lead (JV) Companies, as the job required construction of steel super structures bridges of high-quality Japanese standards for high speed railway. 
  • But as the “Make in India” prospect took flight and as fabrication of steel structures are being executed by Indian companies for all other railway projects, NHSRCL took keen interest in the possibility of opening steel structure fabrication bid to Indian companies as well.
  • In discussion with Japanese side for opening steel superstructure works to Indian companies also, a High-Power Committee composed of experts from both Indian and Japanese side, namely NHSRCL, India Experts and JRTT was formed in March, 2019. 
  • The main task of the Committee was to assess the capability of various Indian fabricators and ensure whether they can be entrusted with the said work. 
  • The Committee was also tasked with the responsibility of recommending the required improvements to the Indian fabricators so that their fabrication quality is levelled with Japanese and global HSR standards.
  • Over a span of next few months, the Committee visited various factories in India to assess their capabilities and interacted with some reputed fabricators regarding their infrastructure facility, quality control systems, the skills of their manpower and previous experience in Railway steel bridge fabrication. 
  • In addition to all this, the Committee also visited steel fabrication facilities in Japan in October 2019.
  • Committee mentioned that manufacturing of steel bridges can be achieved by Indian fabrication companies as they are having all infrastructure facilities and with the support of highly-skilled human resource and a systematic human-training system the required quality level can be achieved.
  • The Indian companies may achieve the same technical & engineering finesse of the Japanese steel bridges by learning, training. A few leading Indian companies already have the infrastructure required for fabrication of this level. 
  • The technicians, engineers, construction workers will be exposed to high-quality learning, training, guidance & skill development standards required for HSR bridge construction & fabrication. 
  • Systematic inputs from Japan and other countries that have built HSR can further aid in enhancing the workflow systems and upgrade the workforce here to meet the set standards. 
  • To achieve this, few additional conditions were included in the tender as explained below.

Robust, Feasible and Efficient framework for tender specification:

  • For this purpose alone, a robust, feasible and efficient framework was stipulated in tender specification for the fabrication of these bridges. 
  • Many good practices followed in Japan have been incorporated in specifications and it has been made mandatory for the Indian fabricators involved in the work to engage at least one experienced international expert at each fabrication facility. 
  • This has been done to ensure proper maintenance of quality and skill development at every step of the process. 
  • Similarly, the certification system for fabricators and welders has also been stipulated.

Specific Provisions Included in Tender Document:

  • Training & Certification of welders in Welding Research Institute (WRI), Trichy
  • Independent Examining Body (IEB) with competence in testing, Inspection and certification
  • Mandatory use of Computerized Numerical Control (CNC) Machines for accuracy & Speed
  • Engagement of International Experts, on continuous basis, by the contractor to ensure technical accuracy and quality management
  • Specification including stricter tolerances for steel material & fabrication
  • Implementation of Test regime (Quality Assurance Plan)

Make in India

  • Opening of steel fabrication to Indian companies will not only reduce the cost but will also give a boost to the “Make in India” aspect of the business and as a result upgrade the standards of fabrication in the country. 
  • Enhanced skills of Indian technicians will further pave the way for “Make for World” and put Indian companies for fabrication of reliable, cost-effective & high quality products on the global map.

Source: NHSRCL-Press Release

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