New Delhi: The Indian Railways are formulating a liberal wagon leasing policy to attract global transportation majors.
The policy, to be announced this year, aims at enabling wagon manufacturers to invest in general purpose wagons as well as special kind of wagons and allow them to run it on Indian Railway system.
There are about more than 2 lakh wagons in the country and majority of them were designed 25 years ago.
“There is a need for new generation wagons to cater to the growing need of the users in different sectors including cement, coal, chemical, ores and automobiles. Our existing wagons are becoming outdated,” said a senior railway official.
“However, railways would not use their capital for the new wagons though the new design has to be approved by them,” said the official.
“Currently we are examining various options before finalising the draft. Our aim is to attract private players to invest in general purpose wagons as well as special wagons.
“The policy would also allow the private players to lease the wagons to customers who have the use for such wagons,” said the official.
The new policy is a step towards opening up of the wagon sector to private sector. The railways would also play the role of a third party between the financers and the users to secure the interests of financiers in cases of default.
“Unlike the existing one, the new wagons are expected to be light weight and smaller in size. Instead of steel, they would be made of aluminium like the ones running in western countries,” said the official, adding the aim is to increase the payload per train.
Railways hope the policy would not only attract leading wagon manufacturers to enter Indian market, it would also bring in technological expertise that is at par with global standard.
“It would create new opportunities in the wagon sector as the need for special kind of wagons for transporting items like coal, cement, steel, chemicals and automobiles is rapidly growing.”