Nearly a year after the Shravanabelagola rail line was commissioned, cargo trains running on this shorter route between Bengaluru and Mangaluru are set to become an attractive revenue source for both the Railways and the PSU Container Corporation of India Ltd (CONCOR). With every train that runs along the route taking more than 100 trucks off the road, this will help in reducing pollution levels and traffic in the ghat section.
From February-end, five pairs of goods trains have run between the Mangaluru Port railway station and the Satellite Goods Terminal Railway Station, Whitefield. “A chunk of the road freight traffic has now shifted to the Railways. Ceramic tiles and Polypropylene granules from Reliance from Mundra Port in Gujarat, which usually reach Mangaluru Port to be transported to Bengaluru by road, have begun taking the rail route since February-end,” Group General Manager of CONCOR’s Bengaluru unit Anup Dayanand Sadhu told The New Indian Express.
Each rake (train) is equipped with anywhere between 40 and 45 wagons and each wagon has two massive containers (TEUs) which can each accommodate 27.5 tonnes of goods . “In comparison, a truck carries a maximum of 17 tonnes. So, every train packed to capacity takes more than 100 trucks off the road,” Sadhu said. “The cargo train presently runs empty during its return trip from Bengaluru to Mangaluru, but the cost of running it is borne by the customer,” he added.
“After the train reaches Whitefield from Mangaluru, it is delivered at the doorsteps of the consumer using trucks,” he explained.According to a top railway official, “A new logistics route has opened up. Most of the revenue made by the Railways comes from goods transportation. The potential for revenue, as it picks up, is enormous. It is also environment-friendly.” Asked about the reasons for running of services only from February though the route was opened on March 26, 2017, he said many MoUs had to be inked.
The time taken to cover the 369-km route from the Mangaluru-end is presently 18.5 hours as the packed train runs slow. But, it takes only around 17 hours from the Bengaluru-end. “The time taken by road is around 15 hours, but pilferage is a major problem in truck transportation. However, CONCOR guarantees safety of goods.”
The GM added, “We are only handling domestic freight traffic now. International logistics firms like NYK, Maersk and Hapag-Lloyd will touch the Mangaluru port shortly. So, we are eyeing international business later.” Explaining the revenue model, the CONCOR official said an income of `90 lakh has been generated through the trips completed. “CONCOR gets a 15% share while the remainder goes to the Railways.”