BENGALURU: The surging diesel prices and the environment-friendly option that trains offer is now giving Railways a big edge over road transport. The world’s largest shipping line on Saturday sent its first-ever consignment from Bengaluru to US, UK and Middle East markets via a container train from Whitefield.
At 3 pm on Saturday (July 10), shipping major Maersk, transported electrical and electronic items, machinery and garments on board the train from the inland container depot (ICD) at Whitefield. Items from Schneider Electric, Elemental Fixtures, Himalaya Drug, Balmer Lawrie-Van Leer and Coco Carbon were on board the train that is carrying 90 Twenty foot Equivalent Units (TEUs). TEU in shipping cargo terminology refers to the dimensions of the length of the container.
Group General Manager of the Bengaluru unit of Container Corporation of India Limited (CONCOR), a subsidiary of Indian Railways, that is running the train, Dr Anup Dayanand Sadhu, told TNIE that the first train was on its way currently to Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) in Mumbai.
“Items on board the train were mainly meant for US and UK markets and would be shipped from there. The increase in diesel cost is also a reason for business shifting to us.” Sadhu said rail transport translated into good economics for exporters. “The road rate is Rs 75,000 per 40 ft container (2 TEUs) while the CONCOR train rate is Rs 52,000 per 40 feet container between ICD and JNPT,” he said.
Money Krishnan, Location Manager, Karnataka, Maersk, told TNIE, “The main reason why we are making the switch is that it will help reduce the carbon footprint. On a single train, we can transport 90 TEUs for a distance of roughly 1,300 km. This just takes off 60 trailers off the road.” There are other reasons too. “The increase in price of diesel and the 20 per cent cost reduction compared to road, are other reasons,” he added.