Mumbai: Private firms that have won licences to operate container trains following the privatization of rail freight services are successfully wooing executives of the state-run Container Corp. of India Ltd (Concor).
Around 12 senior executives have left Concor in the past few months. Until recently, Concor was the only company in the business of transporting containers through rail. The government’s efforts to privatize the sector is part of an effort to increase freight traffic as well as accelerate goods movement to and from ports.
Fourteen firms (excluding Concor) have secured a licence from the government to run container trains to various ports. Apart from Concor, which is still 63% owned by the government, this includes the state-owned Central Warehousing Corp., fertilizer cooperative Krishak Bharati Cooperative Ltd (Kribhco), and 12 private-sector firms. While some of these firms have started operations, the others hope to do so soon. These are the firms that are hiring senior executives from Concor.
To make up for its loss, Concor has hired people on deputation from its parent—the railway ministry. “There is a big drain of experienced personnel from the company after rail freight operations were privatized,” said a company official who did not wish to be named. “The private sector is offering huge salaries and fancy designations. Being a public sector firm, we are not able to match the salaries offered by the private sector,” he added.
Many of the executives who have joined private firms belong to the Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS), a group responsible for managing the transportation, operations and commercial wings of the Indian Railways.
P.G. Thyagarajan, till recently director in charge of international marketing and operations at Concor, has joined Sical Logistics Ltd. He was a contender for the post of Concor’s managing director which went to Rakesh Mehrotra.
Amitabha Choudhary, a group general manager, has joined India Infrastructure and Logistics Pvt. Ltd as its managing director. The firm is a joint venture between Singapore-based container transportation firm APL and the Rajeev Chandrasekhar-promoted Hindustan Infrastructure Projects & Engineering Pvt. Ltd.
Kapil Rawat, who was the chief general manager in charge of Concor’s northwestern region is now the chief executive officer of DP World, the Dubai-government owned port operator that has a licence to operate container trains through a subsidiary, Container Rail Road Services Pvt. Ltd.
Rajnish Kumar and Amit Kumar, chief general managers at Concor’s flagship inland container facility at Tughlakabad near Delhi, and Sachin Bhanushali who was the company’s chief manager at Pune have joined Gateway Rail Freight Pvt. Ltd—a subsidiary of container logistics firm Gateway Distriparks Ltd.
Earlier, Sharat C. Misra, director in charge of domestic operations at Concor, joined Boxtrans Logistics (India) Services Pvt. Ltd—a subsidiary of maritime logistics service provider JM Baxi & Co.—as its president. And Runa Mukherjee, group general manager (finance) at Concor also joined Boxtrans as vice-president.
Concor’s former managing director A.K. Kohli was the first to cross over to the private sector. He signed up with Adani Logistics Ltd in 2005.
Executives in the private sector firms said they were targeting Concor because it was, until recently, the only firm operating in the business and its executives were the only ones with the requisite experience. They did not wish to be identified because of the sensitivity of the issue. “We have experience in operating container ships, but we have no experience in running container trains. So, we need people who have been there and have done it,” said an official with one of the companies that has rights to run container trains. He did not wish to be identified.