Mumbai: The Dubai government-owned port operator DP World will start container train services in September, linking Loni, which is located on the New Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border, with Gujarat’s Mundra port.
Container Rail Road Services Pvt. Ltd, DP World’s container train operating company in India, will become the latest to start services after the Indian Parliament approved a proposal in 2005 to privatize rail freight services, which were hitherto the monopoly of the Union government-owned Container Corp. of India Ltd (Concor).
Fifteen operators, including Concor, have since won rights to run container trains to various ports in India. “The share of containerized traffic rose from about 11% to 16% over the last five years and is expected to rise to 23% by 2010-11,” says Julian M. Bevis, area line and operations manager (South Asia) at the world’s largest container shipping line Maersk.
DP World, the world’s third biggest container port operator, holds a Category I licence that gives it rights to run an unlimited number of trains on routes across India, for an initial period of 20 years, which is extendable by another 10 years. It has hired Kapil Rawat as the chief executive officer of its container train business. Rawat was earlier the chief general manager in charge of Concor’s north-western region.
“We will start container train services in September,” said an official at Container Rail Road Services, who did not wish to be named. The firm will also expand services to other routes later.
DP World manages the Mundra International Container Terminal at Mundra Port. Given its proximity to the industrial hinterland in the West and the North, the Mundra terminal has seen container traffic grow at 54% year-on-year.
The terminal handled 0.459 million TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit) in 2006, compared with 0.298 million TEU in 2005.
A TEU is the standard size of a container and is a common measure of capacity in the container business.
Container Rail Road Services is buying seven rakes from Texmaco Ltd, the Kolkata-based railway wagon maker. The first of these rakes will be delivered to the operator in August. One rake comprises 45 wagons.
India’s biggest warehouse operator, Union government-owned Central Warehousing Corp. Ltd (CWC), has a rail-linked inland container depot (ICD) at Loni, which is managed by a private firm. This is the only ICD that is now available for use to private container train operators till they set up their own facilities. Concor has exclusivity over other rail-linked ICDs in the country.
An ICD offers services for handling and temporary storage of import/export containers under customs control.
Out of the 15 licensed operators of container trains, seven have started operations. These include Concor, CWC, India Infrastructure and Logistics Pvt. Ltd, Boxtrans Logistics (India) Services Pvt. Ltd, Gateway Rail Freight Pvt. Ltd, Hind Terminals Pvt. Ltd and MSC Agency (India) Pvt. Ltd, and Innovative B2B Logistics Solution Pvt. Ltd.
The new operators are expected to bring additional revenues to the Indian Railways by ferrying an extra 4-5 million tonnes of container traffic this year.