MANGALORE: The Container Corporation of India (Concor), an undertaking of Indian Railways, recently made operational an Inland Container Depot (ICD) on the New Mangalore Port Trust (NMPT) premises. The first one is at Whitefield in Bengaluru. Concor has taken the Kudremukh Iron Ore Company’s railway siding with 45,000 sq m land on the NMPT premises on lease, along with another 20,000 sq m of land belonging to NMPT, to have the ICD in Mangaluru. It has twin objectives — boosting trade through Mangaluru Port and offering cost-effective logistical facilities to entrepreneurs in Karnataka.
The corporation discharged 45 empty international containers from Bengaluru, brought by a railway rake in the morning, to NMPT to be shipped out. It sent 30 containers loaded with tiles brought by coastal cargo from Gujarat for onward movement towards Bengaluru, said Concor Karnataka Group General Manager Anup Dayanand Sadhu.
The combination of coastal cargo and rail transport reduces transportation cost by at least 30% for traders, Mr. Sadhu told, adding that traders can pass on the benefits to customers by offering goods at lower prices. As the Centre is keen on promoting coastal cargo to reduce road traffic, Concor is equally keen to encourage this, he said.
While Concor has been feeding ports only on the East Coast through the Whitefield ICD, the Mangaluru facility enables it not only to expand activities but also to help the trading community with cheaper transportation options, Mr. Sadhu said.
The Corporation has confirmed orders to operate container services between Bengaluru and Mangaluru once a week, and if more traders evince interest it is prepared to increase the frequency of services. The newly opened Bengaluru-Hassan railway line cuts down movement time at least by three hours, benefiting traders.
Saying that Concor was likely to get orders for full trains in the coming weeks, Mr. Sadhu said container movement by train is beneficial at present when Shiradi Ghat is closed for traffic. A full train formation can transport up to 90 TEUs (twenty foot equivalent) of containers while a coastal cargo ship brings 90 to 150 TEUs in each voyage.
Mr. Sadhu also said that work on Concor’s third ICD, at Nanjangud, would commence shortly on the 50-acre land provided by the Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board.