GE Equipment Services plans to enter into logistics businesses such as cold chain transportation, warehousing and port operations, apart from supply of dredging equipment.
The company, which had picked up a 15% stake in Titagarh Wagons Ltd a couple of months ago in order to enter the financing market, has also completed its first rail wagon financing in India by providing assistance to ETA Engineering Pvt. Ltd for the purchase of some 200 rail wagons.
Dhananjay Nalawade, the president and chief executive officer of GE Equipment, said GE was looking for partnerships with firms with experience in the Indian market. The company plans to bring its overseas cold chain partners into India. GE already has around 50,000 units of cold chain equipment, including tr-ailers and containers, globally.
“Most developed nations have an 80:20 ratio in terms of special and ordinary wagons. Indian Railways has only around 10 refrigerated containers, which are again privately held,” he said. The boom in the retail segment would contribute to the need for cold chain facilities in India, he added.
According to Nalwade, the railways was also expected to announce a policy that would detail a preferential tariff for firms running special wagons.
GE is also on the lookout to establish logistics parks in the east, central and southern regions of the country, hopefully in a partnership with the railways. A cooperation with the railways would help any private entity get easier access to land, which was the main problem in setting up a logistics park, he added.
Nalawade also said GE was awaiting an announcement from the railways to participate in tenders pertaining to the Dedicated Freight Corridor. Nalwade said that GE would be interested in signalling, supply of wagons and setting up of logistics parks.
Former finance commissioner with the railways R. Sivadasan is predicting that demand for cold chain facilities would increase soon because of the boom in retail segment. “There is a tremendous scope for such ventures,” he said.