New Delhi: In a move that could sharply boost industrial activity in several states, the Indian Railways is seeking approval to set up a major new network of logistics hubs across 10 locations.
These sprawling hubs, spread over 247 acres each, are designed to handle multiple needs of cargo movers, allowing them direct access to railway wagons. Every hub will also have facilities to handle containers as well as rail-side warehouses to handle cement and fertilizers and areas to store bulk commodities such as coal and steel.
The hubs are being proposed along the Mumbai–Delhi and Punjab–Bihar diagonals dotting the eastern and western arms of the Rs35,000 crore dedicated freight corridor, which will be built by the railways.
According to the preliminary engineering and traffic survey for the freight corridor submitted by Rites, the survey arm of the railways, each of these ten hubs is expected to cost around Rs200 crore.
The Rites report has been forwarded by the railways to the Planning Commission seeking approval for the hubs that will dot the 2,200km railway corridor that is aimed exclusively at moving freight.
According to the report, on the eastern corridor, the hubs will come up at Kanpur and Ladhowal in Uttar Pradesh, Mandi Govindgarh and Dhandari Kalan near Ludhiana, in Punjab. On the Western corridor, the locations include Navi Mumbai in Maharashtra, Vapi, Ahmedabad, Gandhidham, all in Gujarat, as well as Jaipur and Delhi.
“Tremendous amount of industrial activity is bound to shift to the states where these hubs are supposed to come up because every industry would like to be based at a location which can offer seamless transportation,” says AK Kohli, CEO, Adani Logistics Ltd.
According to Kohli, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Haryana will be the greatest beneficiaries of the dedicated freight corridor project as these states face a severe infrastructure shortage in termsof logistics.
Rites has also suggested that these hubs be built with the participation of the private sector.