Carmakers find Indian Railways a good option for transportation: SUV carriers being developed

The Ministry of Railways has announced that Indian Railways has witnessed tremendous growth in its automobile transportation services over the years. The volume of transportation of small passenger vehicles through railways has increased by 68 percent Y-o-Y during the first five months of FY 22-23. The growth in this space has also been attributed to various initiatives and the availability of specialized privately owned wagons. Industry stakeholders such as Society for Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) and the Automobile Freight Train Operator (AFTO) have been instrumental in bringing in liberalised policies that have led to this growth.

Streamlined policies have allowed automobile manufacturers to own private wagons that are designed to fulfil their needs. Railways being a cleaner mode of transport also helps manufacturers reduce their carbon footprint while moving bulk volumes quickly. For perspective, the modal share of ‘domestic transportation of ’passenger vehicles (cars)’ in 2013-14 was just 1.5 percent, this has jumped to 16 percent in 2021-2022. In August 2021, 320 Indian Railway rakes were loaded for transportation and in August 2022 this number jumped to 508.
Currently, the Indian Railways has a fleet of 90 New Modified Goods (NMG) rakes. Additionally, 43 Bogie Covered Autorake Double Decker Wagon (BCACBM) rakes have also been approved and inducted under the AFTO scheme. The next step to drive growth is the transportation of SUVs through rakes designed to accommodate them. A new design of auto-carrier wagons is in final stages of development by the Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO).

Courtesy: Twitter@RailMinIndia

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Design modifications are also being made to existing NMG wagons to facilitate easier and safer loading and unloading of vehicles. The modifications are being made based on the suggestions received from investors and logistics providers. Freight rates too have been revised to boost short lead traffic of up to 1200 km. The ministry also announced that more terminals are being set up to facilitate the growing automobile traffic.

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