A battery of high profile speakers pulled out pertinent issues on poor connectivity to the ports, paucity of skilled manpower and imbalance of containers
There was a palpable sense of buoyancy and expectancy in this year’s NISAA Business Forum 2019, despite the fact that a number of old issues had continued to linger. There was much discourse on the imminence of the DFCs, which would see partial operation in certain sectors soon. The near constant trickle of rail freight volumes to roadways, poor connectivity to the ports, paucity of skilled manpower and imbalance of containers were prime factors that have continued to dog the hinterland logistics fraternity.
A considerable amount of hope was being pinned on the railways to improve the logistics movement from the hinterland destination to the ports and vice versa. There was a battery of high profile speakers from the rail sector ie, two from the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Limited (DFCCIL) – Anurag Kumar Sachan and Biplav Kumar and three from CONCOR Kalyana Rama, Sanjay Bajpai and Sanjay Swarup. There were galaxy of speakers from other forums too.
Sachan, IRSE, MD, DFCCIL said that at the time of independence the railways had a share of 85 per cent of freight traffic. However over the years, the volume had steadily reduced to 35 per cent. By one estimate by 2022 the total freight traffic was expected to be 5000 billion tonne kilometer. In order to increase the freight to 40 per cent, IR would have to increase the liftings from 800 billion tonne kilometer, currently, to 1900 billion tonne kilometer.
The genesis of the DFC could be ascribed to three factors. The overcrowding of the Golden Quadrilateral and along its diagonals, the average speed of the freight trains was forced down to 25 kms per hour and the levy of high haulage charges. All these factors had contributed to the eroding of the volumes from rail to road. T
he DFC, with its hitherto novel features in the railways, was expected to reverse the trend and bring the rail to the forefront once again. The average speed of the DFC would be 65 kms/ hour which meant that the trains from JNPT port will reach Dadri within an unprecedented period of 24 hours. The IR was developing feeder lines in the state of Gujarat and Maharashtra from the ports to the DFC. These feeder lines would also be double stack, that would ensure end to end seamless movement of containers. From July /August they expect to commence commercial operations from Marwah to Rewari in western corridor and from Kanpur to Khurja in eastern corridor. Further by December they hope to achieve an important breakthrough when they connect Palanpur with the ports. Kalyana Rama, CMD, CONCOR, said that good operating procedures had been established in their hub in Khatuwas. The average detention of a container was not more than 24 hours, which augured well when double stack containers commenced movement. Further he emphatically clarified that ICD Tughlakabad would not be shut down. Tughlakabad would continue to be the main focal point from where business would be generated.
GST has had a positive effect on warehousing. India would see a 112 per cent increase in warehousing space. The future of logistic depended not just on continued development of the logistics sector, but also on the capacity of the service providers in adapting themselves in utilisation of technologies. The value added services were the need of the hour. These Services were expected to command a premium.