The Railways is gearing up to transport its largest freight consignment in the past couple of years from the Cochin Port Trust. This comes after several years of nominal rail freight movement from the Ernakulam wharf. The Railways expects a huge revenue boost from this consignment.
This September, a ship carrying iron ore sourced from Jindal group of companies in Orissa will berth at the Ernakulam port. The first consignment, which comprises 52,000 tonnes of iron ore is expected to berth at the wharf by mid-September. If all goes well, a total of 1,00,000 tonnes might be shipped to the wharf, of which the majority is expected to be transported from Kochi through rail.
Gearing up to transport the material to Salem, the Railways Thiruvananthapuram division which is expecting a huge revenue boost through this movement is currently repairing and lifting the dilapidated rail track connecting the wharf to the Mattanchery halt station, on a war-footing. If the movement proves to be a success, the Railways will see increased transportation of goods from the Ernakulam wharf in the near future.
“We are in touch with both the Port Trust as well as the Jindal company. They are planning to source a total of 1,00,000 tonnes to the Salem Iron and Steel industry. If our first transportation proves to be a success, there are talks to transport the entire iron shipment through rail. This is expected to be a major boost to our revenue”, said Ernakulam area managar P L Ashok Kumar.
This is perhaps the first time that iron is being transported through rail from the Ernakulam wharf. Last year, even though huge quantities of Gypsum had been transported from the wharf to another centre, the freight had been subjected to derailment twice. “This had been a huge blow for us. The condition of our railway tracks had dilapidated over the years due to less freight movement. Occassionally, blocks of coal had also been transported to a few units in the country. However, we are expecting the much needed boost in the coming days, so we are not taking any chances and are in the process of repairing the tracks”, Ashok Kumar said.
The officials said that they have been in talks with the Cochin Port Trust for the past one year. The renovation work of the tracks which was started two weeks ago is expected to be completed by September 10. The total estimated cost of the work is Rs 50 lakh.