Synopsis: Steel Authority of India Ltd. (SAIL) is preparing to initiate trial production of head-hardened (HH) rails, which are vital for metro rail and freight corridor projects, by the end of this month, reports PTI. SAIL had previously planned to commence HH rail trial production in August but postponed it due to Indian Railways' demand for normal rails. These HH rails are designed to withstand significantly higher pressure than regular rails, and SAIL aims to bolster production capabilities in this sector at its Bhilai Steel Plant in Chhattisgarh. The successful completion of cold trials for HH rails has paved the way for SAIL to become the second Indian producer of these critical rail components, with Jindal Steel and Power Ltd. (JSPL) already in this market. Chairman Amarendu Prakash discussed the sourcing of coking coal and the potential impact of the European Union's carbon border adjustment tax (CBAM) on Indian exporters. Additionally, SAIL is collaborating on plans to double the coking coal production capacity of its Mozambique-based ICVL joint venture.Article:Steel Authority of India Ltd. (SAIL) is gearing up to launch trial production of head-hardened (HH) rails, which are essential components for metro rail and freight corridor projects. According to SAIL's Chairman Amarendu Prakash, the steel PSU initially aimed to commence HH rail trial production in August but deferred it due to the high demand for regular rails, particularly the 880-grade rails, by the Indian Railways.Prakash explained in an interview with PTI, "We have the technology. We had planned for it (HH rail production) but then...they (Railways) requested us to defer the trials, and now it is set to begin at the end of October."HH rails are specialized rail tracks designed to withstand approximately 50 percent higher pressure than conventional rails. These rails are crucial for high-speed freight corridors and metro rail projects.SAIL has already established facilities for HH rail production at the new Universal Rail Mill (URM) located at its Bhilai Steel Plant (BSP) in Chhattisgarh. The cold trials necessary for HH rail manufacturing have already been successfully completed.Upon commencing HH rail production, SAIL will become the second player in India's HH rail manufacturing sector, with Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) already producing HH rails at their plant in Raigarh, Chhattisgarh.SAIL's contributions to the rail industry extend beyond HH rails. The company also manufactures forged wheels for the Indian Railways at its Durgapur Steel Plant (DSP) in West Bengal, with the rails and wheels serving as vital components in India's extensive rail network.Amarendu Prakash also addressed SAIL's sourcing of coking coal, stating that the company acquires coking coal from various sources, including Australia, the United States, Russia, and Indonesia. SAIL also maintains a joint venture (JV) company in Mozambique.During the fiscal year 2024's April-September period, SAIL procured around eight shipments of coking coal, each containing 75,000 tonnes, from Russia. The company is actively preparing to double the production capacity of its Mozambique-based ICVL venture, increasing it from 2 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) to 4 MTPA.ICVL, located in Mozambique, is a special-purpose vehicle established by SAIL, along with other entities like RINL, NMDC, CIL, and NTPC, for the purpose of acquiring coal mines and related assets outside of India.Prakash also highlighted the challenge posed by the escalating prices of coking coal. From USD 230 per tonne in June-July 2023, the cost of coking coal rose to USD 341 per tonne CFR (cost and freight) India by the end of September. This increase in coking coal prices directly influences input costs and adds pressure to profit margins.Regarding the European Union's carbon border adjustment tax (CBAM), Prakash remarked that this mechanism will impact the cost of supplies to Europe for Indian exporters. The exact extent and magnitude of this impact are yet to be assessed, as Europe is still finalizing its implementation of CBAM.Steel Authority of India Ltd. (SAIL), a prominent steel-making company under the Ministry of Steel, is India's largest in terms of annual capacity, boasting over 21 MTPA.