Indian Railways Announces Missions for Green Transport & Customer Friendly Initiatives in Freight Sector for 2017-18

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The Logistics Headlines, New Delhi, 2nd March 2017 : On March 2, 2017, the Indian Railways announced green transport, freight sector’s customer friendly initiatives for 2017-18 at National Rail Museum, Delhi. The Railway Minister (Suresh Prabhu) geared the announcements. It was presided by Union Minister for State Communications (IC) & Railways (Manoj Sinha), and Union Minister of State for Railways (Rajen Gohain). There are four major announcements overseen in the planning, mentioned below.
  1. Trial Run of Double Stack Dwarf Container Train
The projects were announced for double stack dwarf containers to transport goods on an electrified route from Punjab to Gujarat. Dwarf containers (height 12 feet 8 inches), are designed especially considering the overhead electric wires for carrying maximum goods. The double stack containers are normally 17 feet high.

It will facilitate railways with capturing of new traffic in domestic segment and regaining modal share, reduce per unit cost of transportation, and increase in the loading ability by 55% per BLC wagon. In initial year itself, the project is set to draw new traffic of 3 million tones.

  1. Long-term Business Agreements
These will help various freight customers such as manufacturers of steel, cement, fertilizers and food grains shall be brought to increase loading from the new plan of action. It will stabilize the long-term freight rates for customers. There will be incremental guaranteed volume of traffic and GFR to railways. The will be promised supply of rakes/wagons to customers via PTO (Preferential Traffic Order).
  1. The IR’s 2017-18 Passenger and Freight New Business Plan
Apart from offering comfortable and memorable journey experience to people, the plan will boost the Railways revenue by upgrading the delivery system, cashless and paperless ticketing, launch of integrated ticketing app by Suresh Prabhu; Aadhaar card based ticketing, improving parcel business through partnerships with postal department.
  1. Trial Run of Ro-Ro Services
The Indian railways is rolling out a new scheme to flag off demonstration run of roll on-roll off (Ro-Ro) service in Delhi- a pilot project to encourage the idea of ‘green transportation’. It will help in reducing road congestion by decreasing pollution levels by carrying thousands of commercial trucks by train that otherwise cross the national capital of the country by road to their respective destinations.

The pilot project today will be kicked off by the Railway Minister, Suresh Prabhu from Gurugram when 30 loaded trucks will be rolled on to flat wagons from the Garhi Harsaru station to Murad Nagar in the U.P.

About 60,000 trucks everyday go across Delhi making way to Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan etc. A railway official said that with Ro-Ro, loaded trucks are to be transported on goods train, which shall attract greater freight and lower the carbon emission, thus improving environment.

In the earlier year, Prabhu had announced an action plan for expanding the freight basket by adopting Ro-Ro model and containerization that will assist with multimodal transport mix. It was the Konkan Railway, which started Ro-Ro services in India, three years ago, followed by the East Coast Railway in 2016.

Benefit for Truck Operators and Road Transport Ease with Ro-Ro Services

Ro-Ro services will give an option to light and heavy commercial vehicles to go through Delhi-NCR by decongesting the region as these would be loaded on railway flat wagons to stations and unloaded at respective regions. There are about 127 entry and exit points for NCR and 9 important entry/exit points, which account to 75% of heavy duty and commercial light truck traffic.

  • The move will also reduce noise and air pollution, which has been the major cause of concern in Delhi in recent past now.
  • The movement of trucks in the day earlier, which remained restricted from 7 am to 11 pm, would ease along with queues at entry points.
  • It will save on time as well as providing chance for truck drivers to grab rest because of the Ro-Ro run.
One of the senior railway official was of the opinion that the initiative shall benefit the truck operators by saving fuel, toll taxes, environment compensation charge (generally between INR 1,400 and 2,600), thus railway freight tariff would become economical compared to cost from road transportation, along with less risks to accidents.

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