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A greener last mile in steel supply chain

July 30, 2021
 

Tata Steel created history of sorts in the Indian steel sector by deploying first batch of the electric-powered trucks out of a total of 12 to carry finished steel at its Sahibabad plant near Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh. A further 15 such vehicles will be deployed at the Company’s Jamshedpur plant as well. This sustainability initiative will reduce Tata Steel’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by around 3,500 tCO2e or metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent a year.

The new 35-tonne capacity EV trucks deployed by Tata Steel in the stockyards are developed by Gurugram-based Indian start up Infraprime Logistics Technology (IPLT) that come with a 2.2 tonne 230.4kWh lithium-ion battery pack with a sophisticated cooling system and a Battery Management System giving it capability to operate at ambient temperatures up to 60-degree Celsius. The Battery pack would be powered by an IPLT designed 160 kWh charger setup which would be able to charge the battery from 0 to 100% in 90 minutes.

This move makes Tata Steel the first steel producer in India to use electric vehicles (EVs) in its supply chain, thus creating a new benchmark for the entire industry. The long-term impact of this initiative will be quite significant since India plans to increase its overall steel production to 300 million tonnes a year by 2030. In 2018, with a total output of around 110 MT of crude steel, India overtook Japan and emerged as second largest steel producer in the world. In the same year, it was also estimated that the steel sector contributes around 8% of the global GHG emissions, thus making it a prime candidate ready for decarbonisation.

The introduction of EVs in its supply chain by Tata Steel comes from a long line of sustainability initiative taken by the Company over the last several years and is an important part of the larger commitment to implement its “Responsible Supply Chain Policy” that lays down environmental protection as an integral sustainability principle for all its supply chain decisions and processes.

Within this larger supply chain ecosystem, Tata Steel has been targeting three vital areas to reduce GHG to meet its sustainability objective that includes transportation, more efficient use of resource and increase the use of clean and green fuel.

Given that scope 3 emissions (from assets not owned by the company) in rail transportation are one-twelfth of road transportation, Tata Steel endeavours to continuously increase its rail co-efficient for all in-land transportation of its raw material and finished goods. Currently the Company has deployed 34 captive rakes for raw material and finished good transportation. To achieve further reduction in scope 3 emissions as compared to conventional mode of transportation, Tata Steel has started multi-modal coastal transportation for finished goods despatches to south and west coast for its customers in those geographies.

In-house developed load building optimisers are helping Tata Steel in improving the capacity utilisation of transportation resources. Shifting from mill level to plant level optimisation and inclusion of other business units/sister concerns in the optimisation process have shown opportunities for further improvement in capacity utilisation which will go a long way towards the targeted reduction in emissions.

Tata Steel is also working towards deployment of LNG-powered vehicles in its long lead last mile deliveries. This is being done in coordination with Indian Oil Corporation’s plan for development of the LNG refuelling stations across India. Furnaces at our steel processing centres for long products are planned for conversion to furnace oil/LNG replacing use of coal at these facilities. Similarly, we have also identified ammonia-propelled vessels as another means to reduce its carbon footprint.

We believe Responsible Supply Chain is critical to delivering our vision for a sustainable tomorrow. As a responsible corporate, we will continue to collaborate with our supply chain partners, embrace technology, and strive for highest standards in fair business practices, health and safety, human rights, and environmental performance. 

Author:

Vice President, Supply Chain, Tata Steel

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