Suresh Prabhu launched freight sector initiatives to transform Indian Railways

suresh-prabhu freight sector initiativesThe Union Government on 2 March 2017 launched four new freight sector initiatives to increase the profitability of the Indian Railways. The initiatives were launched by the Union Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu at the National Rail Museum in New Delhi.

The newly launched freight sector initiatives are –

i. Roll-on-Roll-off (RORO)

ii. Long Term Tariff Contracts and Agreements

iii. Double Stack Dwarf Containers

iv. Indian Railway’s Business Plan 2017-18

In the Railway Budget for 2016-17, Suresh Prabhu announced that an action plan will be developed and implemented to expand the freight basket through either containerization or new delivery models. ‘Roll-on-Roll-off’ is one such new delivery model which can provide multimodal transport mix. RORO services were started on Konkan Railway and then proliferated to ECR and NFR successfully last year.

Under this policy, long term tariff agreements and contracts will be signed by the Indian Railways with key freight customers using pre-determined price escalation principle. The agreements will benefit key industries such as cement, fertilizers and steel. These contracts and agreements will result in multiple benefits such as stability and certainty of long term freight rates to the customers, assured supply of wagons and rakes to the customers through preferential traffic order (PTO) and incremental guaranteed volume of traffic to the Indian Railways.

This measure is a part of the government’s intention to expand the freight basket and recapture the traffic through either containerization or new delivery models. Double Stack Dwarf Containers are designed with 6 feet 4 inches height to run under wire for maximum throughput with increased loadability. This new delivery model is expected to attract additional traffic of around 3 million tonnes in the initial year.

The plan is a continuation of government’s sustained efforts to make the journeys of passengers more pleasurable and to make Indian Railway’s freight business more responsive to the needs of customers. The plan seeks to revamp  railways through partnerships with stakeholders, RORO, dwarf containers, road-railers and new terminals. Aadhaar -based ticketing application will be launched by May 2017. Parcel business will be enhanced through new partnership with the Postal Department.

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