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PSA’s new terminal at JNPT to raise share of boxes moved by rail

The opening of a new container terminal shortly at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) by Bharat Mumbai Container Terminals Pvt Ltd (BMCT), a wholly-owned facility of Singapore’s PSA International Pte Ltd, is expected to help India’s busiest container gateway raise the share of boxes moved by rail.

 On Tuesday, BMTC and the state-owned rail hauler of containers Container Corporation of India (Concor) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to run dedicated shuttle-trains running between BMCT and Concor’s Rail Transhipment Hubs (RTH) at Kathuwas and Jakhwada to consolidate containers railed between BMCT and North and West India.

 Analysts have found that the practice of ‘mixed rail handling’ instead of having a dedicated rail link was the major drawback negatively impacting truck-to-train freight conversion progress.  The flat stagnation of rail volume at JNPT when examined by an agency was attributed as a major factor to mixed container handling. According to the report, “Mixed container stacking at [the] yard of a different terminal leads to challenges in retrieving the same and at times, leads to the possibility of containers missing the vessel and loss of revenue for the shipping line.”

 Observing that the percentage of rail cargoes at JNPT has declined to 12% recently, CMD, Concor, Kalyana Rama said : “By working together to provide superior service levels and offerings via our RTHs, we have no doubt that rail percentage in JNPT will see a major upswing with the commissioning of BMCT and we aim to see 35 per cent of volumes at BMCT handled by rail once the dedicated freight corridor (DFC) is completed,” Kalyana Rama said.

 BMCT’s rail facilities will be the largest in India and the only on-dock DFC-compliant facility in JNPT, capable of handling 1.5 km long, 360 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) container trains on completion of the DFC.

BMCT will designate the Kathuwas and Jakhwada RTHs as BMCT’s inland extended gateways for North and West India while Concor will ensure competitive rail freight costs and transit times between BMCT and the RTHs in addition to providing competitive pre / on-carriage rail options. The aggregation of all North and West India-destined boxes onto a single train at BMCT will enhance train utilisation.

 With priority given to handle its trains at BMCT, Concor will be able to transport boxes to their destination on time, thus providing a higher service level to shipping lines cost-effectively at a much more competitive cost, said Suresh Amirapu, CEO of BMCT.

.Further, Concor’s Dronagari Rail Terminal (DRT) will be designated as a Direct Port Delivery (DPD) point for longer stay import boxes, removing traffic from the roads and providing a more effective evacuation option. BMCT will also work in partnership with Concor to offer shipping lines domestic repositioning of their empty containers, a service currently not available at terminals in JNPT due to the lack of capacity.

“The tie-up is a big fillip to the DFC project which is expected to revolutionise the inland container transportation infrastructure,” said an industry source. “It also marks the beginning of further competition between the terminals at JNPT in offering the best service to their clients,” Suresh Amirapu, CEO of BMCT added.


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