March 26, 2020 / 11:17 AM / 6 days ago

SAIL scales back production, has orders cancelled under lockdown

FILE PHOTO: A motorcyclist rides past an advertisement of Steel Authority of India Ltd. (SAIL) at a street in New Delhi, India, August 5, 2016. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Steel Authority Of India Ltd said on Thursday it had scaled back its manufacturing operations with the country under a 21-day lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus but could not yet say how much of a hit it would take.

Earlier, a source directly involved with the situation said some customers had cancelled orders because of the slower handling at ports as the lockdown hobbles movement of goods.

The country’s largest state-owned steel company faced a marginal hit to production and some of its inventory was piled up at ports, the source said, declining to be identified due to the sensitive nature of operations.

In a notification to the stock exchange, the company said its manufacturing operations in all plants have been "rationalised as warranted by the difficult circumstances". (reut.rs/39mzUPw)

However, it said the overall adverse impact on the company’s operations during lockdown was “not immediately ascertainable”.

Most steel companies have faced similar disruptions and have suspended operations at some of their plants.

People queued in some Indian cities for essential items, while trucks were stranded at state borders and public transport was suspended two days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered the 21-day lockdown to protect a population of 1.3 billion.

On Wednesday, JSW Steel Ltd said manufacturing operations in all of its locations have since been either scaled down or suspended.

Reporting by Neha Dasgupta; Editing by Jan Harvey, Kirsten Donovan

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