Railways could offer concessions to truck operators on DFC to attract corporate customers

Railways could offer concessions to truck operators on DFC to attract corporate customers
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Indian Railways, the national transport company of India, is trying to attract more corporate customers and conquer the modal share of freight from the National Highways to the dedicated freight corridors. Previously, as part of their national railway plan, the railroads had expressed their intention to take on 40 to 45 percent of total domestic freight movement (nearly 3,000 million tons of annual freight volume (currently 1,418 tons)) by 2030, up from the current 26 to 27 percent.

With this in mind, the Department of Railways is likely to offer truck operators a number of concessions on Dedicated Freight Corridors (DFCs). Sources say 25-30 per cent relief on existing RoRo (roll-on, roll-off) charges could be on the horizon, along with higher concessions for traffic metered for empty wagons.

The issue was discussed by the railway board and the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation (DFCC) after the DFCC stressed that existing ro-ro tariffs were too high for truck drivers to switch from road to rail.

In RoRo, trucks with or without goods are loaded onto trains via a ramp, which are intended to carry BRN cars (special open wagons built exclusively for the transport of trucks) at the end of a loop. Prior to loading, trucks are weighed and passed under a height gauge to ensure they meet safe passage regulations.

“Although the segment is new to us, there is significant demand for RoRo services from the private sector as this mode saves the truck operator money on three counts – fuel costs, motorway tolls and wear and tear on the vehicle. Currently, ro-ro traffic is minimal as current rates are not feasible,” a DFC official said.

RoRo reduces the extent of damage and delays during the movement of goods from one mode of transport to another, thereby solving last-mile connectivity problems. Currently, these services operate on DFCC routes and Konkan Railways.

In July 2022, the Ministry announced charges for the RoRo segment on DFCs. Under current charges, a 500km trip for a wagon carrying a rigid vehicle (or truck) would currently cost the truck operator Rs 33,556. A full train of these specialized BRN cars would have 43 cars.

In the months that followed, DFCC had applied to the board for special permission to set its own station-to-station tariffs (STS), which the railways banned, citing technical reasons. On February 21, the Board issued a letter to DFCC that new tariffs may be worked out on a case-by-case basis depending on secured traffic, cost of running the screens, investment in terminals and required modifications to screens.

These deliberations, after a long period of eight months, are expected to be completed soon, the ministry official said.

RoRo on DFCs are considered game-changing for the current logistics landscape as the corridors offer an average speed of almost 55 km/h (mph) which is more than three times the current average off regular Indian railway tracks (18 km/h) . , including yarding and stables.

Source: www.maritimegateway.com

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