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Wednesday, February 24, 2021

New freight plan: Loaded trucks will take the train

That's the new business model designed by the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Limited (DFCCIL) for one of its newly opened stretches in the western region with a projected annual earning close to Rs 100 crore, a senior official told The Indian Express.

Written by Avishek G Dastidar | New Delhi |
Updated: February 23, 2021 8:20:39 am
Approximately 2,500-3,000 trucks ply between Rewari and Palanpur, riding on the traffic between the three Gujarat ports, the hinterland and the northern regions of Rewari, Hisar, Agra, Ghaziabad, Haridwar, Dehradun, Chandigarh, Ludhiana etc.

HOW WILL trucks loaded with goods reach their destinations hundreds of kilometres away three times faster than before? They will take the train.

That’s the new business model designed by the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Limited (DFCCIL) for one of its newly opened stretches in the western region with a projected annual earning close to Rs 100 crore, a senior official told The Indian Express.

The “Roll-On-Roll-off (RORO)” service will be started between Palanpur in Gujarat and Rewari in Haryana, a distance of 636 km, to transport a wide range of goods unloaded in ports to markets in north India, especially the National Capital Region.

Approximately 2,500-3,000 trucks ply between Rewari and Palanpur, riding on the traffic between the three Gujarat ports, the hinterland and the northern regions of Rewari, Hisar, Agra, Ghaziabad, Haridwar, Dehradun, Chandigarh, Ludhiana etc.

DFCCIL, a Railways PSU, has floated a Request for Proposal for private players to bid for sole rights to market this service – 900 trips, each carrying 45 loaded trucks on specially designed wagons. The bids will be opened next month for the year-long contract that can be extended by another year.

Explained

Math may be in DFC favour

So far, the RORO model has not really taken off as a viable offering for the Railways. But the Dedicated Freight Corridor ecosystem, with its own tracks and no passenger trains or red tape, may be a different story, officials believe. And once it is a success, it may be replicated on other stretches of the corridor — “wherever there is viability”.

On road, the distance between Palanpur and Rewari is around 720 km with at least 13 major toll points costing around Rs 5,000 in all per truck. By train, the distance is reduced by around 84 km with no barriers, at an average speed of 75 km per hour. Besides, officials said, the distance of 36 hours by road will be reduced to a 10-hour ride coupled with assured, predictable transit for truck owners, along with less wear and tear of the trucks.

The approximate calculations by the DFC expect the cost to the customer per trip will work out to be a few thousands of rupees cheaper.

The other benefit, they said, is that 40,500 trucks travelling over 636 km one way on trains every year is a “huge gain” in terms of emissions and decongestion of roads.

“There are queries from several companies and even government entities that want the right to market this service,” an official said.

Various stretches of the critical infrastructure project have started getting commissioned, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month inaugurating two stretches, including the 300-km Rewari-Madar section, for which this new plan has been worked out.

As for the bid, records show the base or reserved price is Rs 81 crore based on estimates that the Corridor will earn Rs 9 lakh for each trip of one rake. The highest bidder over this amount will get the contract. According to the bid documents, there are two rakes earmarked for this stretch, and during the course of the contract no other operator will be allowed to run a similar service there.

 

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