New Delhi : GatewayRail Freight Ltd (GRFL), the first private container train operator to report profits, plans to link the Faridabad Inland Container Depot (ICD) with rail tracks. The aim is to get a shorter rail route via Tughlakabad ICD, which handles close to half the containers routed to the North.
Currently, GRFL moves cargo from its Faridabad depot on road to another ICD of the company in Garhi Harsaru, Gurgaon.
By linking the Faridabad ICD with rail over the next two months, the company expects to reduce transportation cost by 10 per cent, or Rs 3,000 for a 20-feet equivalent unit TEUs container, said a company source.
The move will help GRFL - in which private equity major Blackstone Group has a stake - increase its catchment area for serving transportation needs of industries in the vicinity, which include engineering goods firms such as JCB and Ace.
GRFL, a subsidiary of listed company Gateway Distriparks Ltd, will add two train services in the export-import container transportation segment, a high margin business for container train operators (CTOs).
The Faridabad ICD will be the company’s third in the northern region. GRFL, a subsidiary of GDL, also has an ICD in Sahnewal, Ludhiana, apart from the one in Gurgaon.
Its ICDs are strategically located to serve cargo transportation needs of industrial hubs in NCR (Gurgaon, Manesar, Faridabad, Ghaziabad), Haryana (Hissar, Panipat, Sonepat) and Rajasthan (Bhiwadi, Rewari, Dharuhera, Neemrana). Punjab and Himachal Pradesh are served by the Ludhiana ICD.
Other CTOs such as Concor, APL, Hind Terminals have their own terminals in the North, while some such as Kribhco Infra, ETA have plans to open terminals. CTOs with services in the North-West segment are Concor, Adani, India Infrastructure Pvt Ltd, held by APL.
GatewayRail chose Faridabad because the Noida-Greater Noida region is already served by the Dadri depot of Concor. Containerised cargo from the North includes auto components, handicrafts and electrical items.
The northern hinterland-western ports route accounts for the largest share of containerised movement. Over 50 per cent of country’s containerised cargo is transported to the North from the western ports of JNPT, Mundra Port and SEZ, and Pipavav.
GRFL has capex plans of Rs 150 crore to expand the rail business. It also plans to add another 6-8 rakes during the year through new purchases and on lease. Currently, it operates 21 own rakes and three leased ones.
“All companies in the organised logistics sector, including GRFL, expect to see good growth over the next two years,” according to the sources.
To reduce losses from movement of empty containers, GRFL has introduced new short-distance services from Ahmedabad to Sanand and Jodhpur on the Delhi-Mumbai route.
CTOs have to pay haulage charges to the Indian Railways for moving loaded and empty containers since they use rail infrastructure. The empty containers are moved because of unavailability of equal volumes of cargo from the origin.