Gateway Rail Freight, Maersk jointly flag automotive express service

Topics Freight | Maersk | Maruti Suzuki

Gateway Rail Freight and Maersk have jointly flagged their first automotive express service from Gurugram to APM Terminals Pipavav (Gujarat Pipavav Port). The train started from GatewayRail’s flagship terminal its Inland Container Depot (ICD) at Gurugram on Tuesday. This terminal is connected to the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor.

“This will be an exclusive Maersk service to cater to the automotive sector in the National Capital Region (NCR) by providing assured connection to the westbound MECL Service of Maersk from APM Terminals at Pipavav Port,” a statement from GatewayRail said.

The westbound MECL Service of Maersk is a shipping line originating from Jebel Ali in the United Arab Emirates to Houston in the United States of America. It has stoppages in Pakistan, India, Oman, and Spain, among others, on the way.

“In the return direction, GatewayRail will also provide ‘Ship to Rail Service’ for Maersk import containers to GatewayRail's ICDs at Gurugram, Faridabad and Ludhiana,” the statement added.

Currently, GatewayRail has been operating four weekly dedicated Maersk import services for its ICD at Gurugram, Faridabad, Ludhiana out of which three are from APM Terminals Pipavav and one is from Mundra Port. GatewayRail also operates a weekly dedicated Maersk export service from its ICD Faridabad to APM Terminals Pipavav.

Gateway Rail Freight is a subsidiary of Gateway Distriparks. It a private intermodal operator. It provides intermodal logistics solutions from its rail-linked Inland Container Depots (ICD) based at Gurgaon, Faridabad, Ludhiana and Viramgam and a Domestic Container Terminal in Navi Mumbai.

The Indian Railways had surpassed 2019-2020’s freight loading numbers in financial year 2020-21. This was on the back of an increase in the ferrying of non-traditional commodities by rail. According to Rail Ministry data, automobile freight had grown by 84 per cent over the comparable period.

Chairman Railway Board Suneet Sharma had also told Business Standard that transporting cars through rails will be one of the new revenue streams the railways will harness.

In a separate statement on Tuesday, Maruti Suzuki India (MSIL) said that the company has been progressively increasing use of railways for its vehicle transportation. “The transportation by rail exceeded 180,000 vehicles in 2020-21, which accounts for nearly 13 per cent of total sales in the same period,” a MSIL statement said.

Maruti Suzuki said that it is the first auto manufacturer in the country to obtain Automobile Freight Train Operator (AFTO) license. This allows private firms to fabricate and operate high speed, high capacity auto-wagon rakes on the Indian Railway’s network.

At present, Maruti Suzuki utilises five loading terminals. These are in Gurgaon, Farukhnagar, Kathuwas, Patli and Detroj. Their vehicles are bound for 15 destination terminals namely Bangalore, Nagpur, Mumbai, Guwahati, Mundra Port, Indore, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, NCR, Siliguri, Coimbatore, Pune, and Agartala. “With the addition of Agartala, the reach of rail mode has extended to North East. It has also helped to reduce the transportation time to states in East India by nearly half,” MSIL added.

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