Container Corporation of India (Concor) will start running time-tabled freight trains between Tughlakabad and Delhi.
The move comes on the back of Indian Railways’ move to launch time-tabled and assured transit time freight trains for containerised routes within a few days without charging any extra freight charges, said multiple sources. This was one of the announcements of Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu in the Railway Budget.
At present, the Railways does not provide any assured transit time service for its freight customers, due to capacity crunch.
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.
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 for the export-import segment.
Kamlesh Gupta, President, Association of Container Train Operators (ACTO), said, “What we need are fixed transit times. There should be less deviation in the usual journey time taken by trains between two points,” he said.
He added that an assured transit time in the 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 Concor, Gateway Rail Freight Ltd, APL IndiaLinx, Hind Terminals serve their customers better. The Railways had sought feedback from container train operators on the preferred routes for running the assured transit time trains. Concor had suggested the Delhi-Bengaluru route.
“We had provided the Delhi-Bengaluru domestic route as a sector with a potential to attract more containerised cargo particularly in the express segment. Earlier trains used to take Delhi-Bengaluru in 130-140 hours. Now, the Railways expect to provide assured transit time of 66 hours. The trial run was successful, when the train reached only one hour late, in 67 hours,” Concor Chairman and Managing Director Anil Gupta told BusinessLine.
Concor hopes to start running three trains a week on the Delhi-Bengaluru segment and expects to see its cargo double on this route. Right now the express cargo is served largely by road. More piecemeal cargo can be captured through this service on the route.
For the Railways, containerised traffic accounts for a very small share (four per cent) of the overall cargo mix. This has further seen a drop in 2015-16 due to the dip in export-import trade, by loads.
Moreover, within the containerised rail cargo, there has been a drop in cargo moved in domestic segment since 2013-14, with an increase in containerised cargo moved by road.