Your views on the developments taking place in the high speed rail corridor and metro rails
With the formation of National High-Speed Rail Corporation (NHSRCL) in 2016, the dream of having high speed rail corridors in India with trains running at speed of around 250 km/hr is coming to a reality. With around 300 km of route length for Mumbai-Ahmedabad under construction, there are still many routes which have been proposed under NRP and a majority of them are under DPR preparation. The pace at which the work is moving forward is remarkable, however, there is still room for improvement. This has opened up huge opportunities for EPC players in terms of construction of the required infrastructure. We are also a significant contributor to the development of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High speed rail corridor. When we look at urban transportation infrastructure, metros can be considered as its backbone. To decongest the growing urban population, metros and rapid rails are of utmost importance. The government is keen on its development and expansion not only in Tier-1 cities but also to Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities. We are going to see a lot of EPC opportunities in this segment as well.
How ready are we in incorporating metros and high-speed bullet train projects effectively in the Indian terrain?
The High-Speed Rail (HSR) as well as metros serves as pillars for modern transport and there is a strong intent to put India amongst the other developed nations of the world in terms of transport infrastructure. There has been a considerable amount of work by the government to get India ready for a large-scale adoption. However, we still lag on certain fronts that need attention from the concerned authorities. Some of these can be attributed to delays in availability of funds with the tendering authorities, forest clearance, land acquisition and other local issues that remain even after the project has been awarded which in turn leads to time and cost overruns for the contractor. These can be resolved during the project planning phase itself, thus leading to faster project execution.
Please highlight upon the role & contribution of Zetwerk in contributing towards the benefit of India's railway system?
The infrastructure segment in India is highly fragmented where there are several small contractors who in general lack access to working capital, technical expertise, project management and execution skills. We through our supplier/partner network spread across the country bridges the gap between the end client and these contractors in terms of managing multiple sub-contractors via timely approvals, ensuring healthy working capital management, strong project management thereby delivering on time. There is a strong push by the Indian government towards making the rail infrastructure future ready via the National Rail Plan. There is an increased focus on decongestion of traffic (both passenger and freight) through new railway lines construction, doubling and tripling of railway lines, construction of dedicated freight corridors for faster goods movement, improvement of passenger amenities through Amrit Bharat Station redevelopment schemes, and many more such initiatives. Zetwerk through its strong project execution capabilities is a significant contributor to such initiatives. Kota station redevelopment is one of such projects that we are executing at present.
What are your offerings for India's Railways?
We have strong execution capabilities across formation works, track laying, bridge construction & station redevelopment works for Railways. Our in-house design, procurement, project management and execution team with a healthy mix of experienced personnel & fresh talent coupled with our strong financial capabilities helps us to ensure on time quality deliveries. Our in house project management tool ZISO enables the clients to have a real time update of different site activities.
Please take us through your various tie-ups and joint ventures and how it has benefitted your Railway Vertical?
We have established a few tie ups in the last few years at different times in the lifecycle of different projects as and when required. From having tie ups with surveying agencies to specialist design consultants for assuring tender bidding at right prices, to tying up with raw material suppliers to ensure seamless material supply, to having tie ups with certain machinery & manpower contractors to have a seamless execution, we have done it all. We have also ventured into joint ventures in a few cases for specialised bridge fabrication capabilities available with our JV partners.
What is the rationale behind acquiring Wardha fabrication unit of Wheels India? Are there plans to acquire or enter into joint ventures to strengthen your Railways offerings in FY2023-24?
We execute multiple Girder fabrication jobs as a part of the railway EPC projects that we execute. We wanted to have an in-house facility where we could have full control on all phases of the production cycle. Wardha facility has helped us to seamlessly deliver Girders/fabricated structures as per project requirements across our various project sites with a high degree of predictability. We are keen to acquire a small to mid-sized Railway civil EPC company in this financial year to augment our Railways offering.
What are your growth plans for your organization in the next three years?
We plan to grow in the upcoming years using a three pronged approach, i.e, go deeper in our existing categories like new line construction, doubling/tripling of railway lines, bridge construction & railway station redevelopment programs; expand our offerings portfolio to include gauge conversion, workshop and yard development, laying of ballastless tracks, etc; and foray into execution of urban transport infrastructure works such as metro stations, high speed rail corridors, rapid rail corridors etc.
Your views on how the future will unfold for India's rail networks and your contribution for the same
The future looks extremely bright for India's rail networks. This can be understood not only in terms of significantly increased capex over the past few years but also the National Rail plan, which aims for executing 2050’s rail infrastructure by 2030. There is a significant capital expenditure planned towards construction of new lines, decongestion of traffic on existing lines, gauge conversion from narrow to broad gauge, improving freight share via dedicated freight corridors, modernising railway stations under Amrit Bharat scheme to drive station revenue etc. All these initiatives should lead to large scale projects getting announced & tendered by railways & thus provide EPC players a big opportunity to work on. We plan to go deeper into its existing areas of business like construction of railway lines, bridges & railway stations, etc. We also plan on becoming a significant contributor to the urban transport infrastructure segment such as construction of metro stations and associated works, laying of ballastless tracks and construction of high speed rail corridor projects.