Indian Railways is looking to launch time-tabled freight train for containerised routes within a few days without charging any extra freight charges, said multiple sources in the know.
This was one of the announcements made by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu in the Railway Budget.
Container train operators (CTO) have been demanding trains with assured transit time for many years now. A few years ago, the Railways had launched assured transit time trains on certain routes with higher freight charges than those on which it did not charge any premium.
This time, the Railways plans to launch time-tabled train for containerised cargo without charging a premium on existing freight charges, the source said.
The proposed routes include Tughlakabad-Bengaluru, which will move containers on the domestic segment and JN Port-Chennai, which will move boxes on the export import segment.
When contacted, Kamlesh Gupta, President, Association of Container Train Operators (ACTO), explained their problem area. “What we need are fixed transit times. There should be less deviation in usual journey time taken by trains between two points,” Gupta shared.
He added that an assured transit time in a domestic circuit will help a limited number of customers, while a similar offer in an export-import route will help create a land bridge between the two ports, helping them widen the customer portfolio by serving shipping lines.
The move will allow container train operators like Container Corporation of India (Concor), Gateway Rail Freight Ltd, APL IndiaLinx, Hind Terminals, serve their customers better.