Hardly two per cent of the
freight traffic of the VOC Port at Tuticorin has moved through the railways and
when it comes to Cochin port in Kerala the state which has extensive railway
network the port originating traffic is abysmally low at 0.1 per cent while
most of the ports in southern India barring Karaikal depend almost entirely on
road transport to evacuate and to bring in cargo.
Disclosing this at a
conference on last mile connectivity posing a challenge to Chennai Exim trade
organized by Confederation of Indian Industries Southern Railway General
manager R K Kulshrestha said the originating traffic offered by the ports in
Tamil Nadu and Kerala was 2.36 million tons during the last financial year as
against the overall traffic of 71.82 million tons handled by the Southern
The highest per cent of rail
bound traffic is from the Karaikal port in Central Tamil Nadu is from Karaikal
port with a rail coefficient of 56 per cent. The rail coefficient from other
major ports need improvement, the top official of the railway told the
conference attended by top representatives of the EXIM trade in Chennai last
Excerpts from his speech
delivered at CII: last week
The Freight traffic in other
parts of the country contributes to two-thirds of Indian Railways’ revenue of
which the major chunk is contributed by eight commodities such as coal, Iron ore, steel, fertilizers
and raw materials for steel plants etc.
As far as Southern Railway is concerned, during the year 2017-18 up to
November, we have done a freight loading of 18.032 Million Tonnes comprising Coal, Cement, Fertilizers, food
grains, POL, Containers, Automobiles etc.
In the wake of Global
slowdown, transportation sector suffered major setbacks which cast its spell on
Railway’s freight earnings too. Despite
these challenges, Indian Railways has done well to improve its freight loading. With the improvement in freight loading,
everybody will be a winner, be it Railways, be it consumer or be it the whole
Railways has set a target to triple its freight traffic from the current
1.1.billion tonne by 2030. Towards this direction, last year Indian Railways devised a
business plan incorporating various strategic measures to address the
requirements of freight customers by adopting a market-oriented approach. Ministry of Railways has also been constantly refining the
existing freight policies and rationalizing them in consultation with all
stakeholders with a view to attract more freight to Railways.
Railways have also been providing
incentives to encourage and attract freight movement by rail by offering Station to station rates for commodities like Cement, Clinker, Iron & Steel, Gypsum &
Copper Slag, Entered into Long term tariff contract, Freight
Concession for booking to North Eastern States, Incentive Scheme for
Freight Forwarders etc. Infact this year we have started bi-weekly timetabled container train
in association with Container Corporation between Tondiarpet and Tughlakabad
and we have already run timetabled freight train for automobile traffic too.
Impetus is given to electrification as electrified tracks are energy-efficient, eco-friendly promoting speedy movement of goods besides saving
carbon foot print also. In Southern
Railway, we have completed the Electrification in Chervattur to Mangaluru
during March 2017 and work is completed
in Erode – Tiruchirapalli section and will be commissioned shortly and in Karur
– Dindigul the work is in progress and likely to be commissioned during March
2018. Out of total 7254 Kms, we have
electrified 6556 kms i.e. 94% and the balance 6% also will be completed in due
Southern Railway has also taken various
steps to augment its loading. In order
to achieve reduction of terminal detentions, the capacity for placement in
various terminals is being augmented, so as to ensure quicker loading and
Out of the 104 freight terminals, 91 are
already capable of handling full rakes; out of the 13 remaining, works are in
progress at 3 terminals for making them full rake capable. Of the remaining 10
terminals, augmentation to full rake capacity is not considered due to reasons
like insignificant traffic, land constraints etc.,
In addition, 3 new freight terminals have
been identified and being processed under various projects.
Out of 58 sidings in the electrified
territory, 43 are already electrified and wiring is in progress in another 5
Southern Railway have also taken
numerous measures to facilitate freight movement, which are First Common User Rail Auto hub at Walajahbad near Chennai,
Facilitating movement of pet coke, iron ore, door to door service in association
with Container Corporation and movement of Tractors and Power tillers to
North. We have also recently opened Chavadipalayam Goods shed near Erode
and also reopened Pettaivaytalai for handling goods traffic. These are expected to increase share of freight.
We have also put our
best efforts for seamless hassle free delivery by tracking freight train
movements digitally through a well developed Freight Operations Information
System (FOIS) database. We have also
introduced e -payment system for making transactions easy and formed a
dedicated freight marketing team which addresses customers’ individual concern.
Southern Railway has the record loading of 2.745 Million Tonnes
of freight of the season in December 2018, a clear outcome of continuous
Customer Development Programmes taken by the Railways.
Last mile connectivity challenges, the Southern Railway is serving to 7 ports of which 4 are in Tamil
Nadu, 2 in
Kerala and 1 in Karnataka. Apart from
these 7 ports, 2 more ports are also coming up, one at Vizhinjam in Kerala and
the other at Kolachal and Enayam in
In the year 2017-18 the originating
loading of Southern Railway was 32.5 MT and unloading was 39.32 MT with the
overall handling of 71.82 MT of which
the originating traffic offered by Port was 2.36 MT and terminating traffic was
24.58 MT. The highest percentage of rail
bound traffic is from Karaikkal Port with a rail co-efficient of 56 per cent.
However, the rail co-efficient from others ports requires improvement. The rail-road share for the year 2016-17 in
respect of other ports namely Kamarajar Port is 21%, Chennai Port is 14%, New
Mangaluru Port is 13%, Thoothukudi Port is 2 per cent, Cochin Port is only
These 7 ports
are at present well connected with the existing railway network. There are no capacity constraints as of now
for the evacuation of cargo from these ports.
I would like to point out that in fact, these Ports are offering lesser
traffic to Railways as the existing Railway capacity is being under-utilized. Despite the fact that movement of cargo by
Railway improves efficiency, bulk transportation, lesser land utilization,
environment friendly and above all cost effective, the offering by trade of
Port traffic is very less compared to other modes. Last Mile Connectivity, is providing rail
link to the Port from the nearest main line of Railways to facilitate transport
of cargo by end user (Port).
Last Mile connectivity ensures;
systematized cargo handling, safe storage, quicker turn round of ships, prevention
of loss and pilferage, cost effective transport network for large scale
evacuation of port traffic, just-in- time delivery due to seamless movement,
eases road congestion, reduced road accidents and pollution free
transportation. Railway rolling stock is
also compatible for mechanised loading and unloading activities.
Port is well connected to the Chennai-Gudur Main Line which is having Double
Line section with electrification at Attipattu and Attipattu Pudunagar stations
on the Double Line section. As part of
Port-connectivity Project, Third and Fourth Line work is in progress between
Attipattu to Chennai Beach and the targeted date of completion of this line is
Chennai Port is also well connected to Chennai-Gudur
Main Line and to Chennai-Arakkonam Main line.
The third and fourth line work as part of Port Connectivity project is
in progress and the targeted date of completion is March 2018.
Karaikkal Port is well connected to the nearest serving
station of Nagore which is part of Karaikkal – Tiruvarur Main Line single line
section. Doubling between Golden Rock and Thanjavur is in progress.
Electrification of the section is also under progress as part of
Tiruchchirappalli – Nagapattinam – Karaikkal Electrification Project. The
expected date commissioning is March 2018.
Tuticorin Port is connected to the Tuticorin – Madurai
Main Line in a single line section with electrification. The Doubling of this section has been
sanctioned recently and will be inaugurated soon. Likewise, Milavittan-Melamarudur new line has
also been sanctioned and land acquisition is under process. It will likely to be completed before
December 2018 which will give fillip to rail traffic.
Cochin Port is connected to Shoranur – Trivandrum
Main Line in a double line section with electrification. The part section between Cochin Port to Ernakulam is a non-electrified section due to
the prevalence of Air Force Airbase.
Mangalore Port is well connected to south coastal
Kerala with a double line section (except Jokatte- Mangalore Jn for which work
is under progress) and towards Konkan Rail Corporation with a single line.
Kochi International Container
Transhipment Terminal at Vallarpadam
is the first in the country to operate in a special
economic zone has been
handling an average of 40,000 TEUs per month consistently and providing
customers with world-class facilities and service, he added.
Indian Railways network is providing the
exceptional Last Mile Connectivity to all the Ports served in Southern Railway
and it is the Traders who should come forward for optimum utilization of the
facilities and any hurdles if you face may kindly be brought to the knowledge
of southern railway administration and we are ready to sort out any issue for a
seamless service at all times.
commission the last mile connectivity projects in Major Ports to improve their
handling capacity and efficiency, an SPV namely Indian Port Rail Corporation
Limited (IPRCL) was formed in the year 2015 under the Administrative Control of
Shipping Ministry to undertake last mile connectivity projects in major ports
with an initial paid up capital of Rs.100 crores.