Rlys extends telescopic rates to containers’ hub-spoke operations

After administering a bitter dose of a steep haulage-rate hike to container train operators, the Railways has tried to apply balm by extending the telescopic rate benefit for hub-and-spoke operations.

A telescopic rate structure lowers the unit cost of transport containers booked for longer distances. The policy comes into effect from January 1. This benefit was withdrawn two to three years ago.

“The move will provide container operators some operational flexibility in train movement by extending telescopic benefit to containers booked from multiple destinations to a hub and then to the final destination. So, there is some saving in cost,” Amitabha Chaudhuri, General Secretary, Association of Container Train Operators, told Business Line.

Explaining the difference, Chaudhuri added, “At present, when a container moves from a hub to a final point, it is booked afresh, in the process doing away with telescopic benefit. Thus, the same box gets booked twice increasing our cost.”

The benefit will be particularly good for double-stack operations, as there is a 50 per cent discount for the containers stacked on top. Double-stack-container movements are allowed between West-Coast ports (Mundra and Pipavav) and some inland container depots in Rajasthan and Northern Capital Region (Concor’s Rewari, Adani Port SEZ’s Patli and Gateway Distripark’s Garhi Harsaru).

‘conditions attached’

Gateway Rail, the container rail movement arm of listed company Gateway Distriparks, said this policy would help it improve margins on routes that handle double-stack movement — the inland container depot at Garhi Harsaru and ports of Pipavav and Mundra.

Gateway Rail Freight Deputy CEO Sachin Bhanushali said: “Close to 80 per cent of total containers handled by the company go through Garhi Harsaru.”

Kribhco Rail Infrastructure’s Managing Director B.N. Shukla said it would take some time for them to quantify the benefits, as there are many conditions attached to the policy.

At present, hit by the overall slowdown and lack of terminals, most of the operators have stable rakes. Till recently, the level of stable rakes for various firms were as follows: Arshiya — six; Gateway Rail — two; B2B Logistics — three; Freightstar — five; Kribhco Rail Infrastructure — five; Hind Terminals — three; Sical — two; and Central Warehousing Corporation — one.




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