Targeting two-wheelers and three-wheelers mainly, besides packaged food, dry chemicals and other fast moving consumer durables, Indian Railways is introducing Cube containers for easy and safe transportation on the rails.
Currently, the Railways does not have an effective mode of transportation system for two- and three-wheelers, and as a result, these are being transported on the roads.
Earlier, an attempt was made to carry two-wheelers on the rails, but since it was not a fool-proof arrangement, many vehicles got damaged and the practice was discontinued.
In the absence of a tailor-made transportation system for two-wheelers, the Railways was losing a substantial loading to the road sector, said a senior Railway Ministry official, and added, "now we are hoping to attract this sector."
Designed and manufactured by Naresh Kumar, an ex-railwayman, the prototype of the Cube container was reviewed by Railway Minister Aswhani Vaishnaw and railway top brass at New Delhi station.
According to the official, the Minister and the accompanying team expressed satisfaction at the effectiveness of the Cube container system and gave a green signal for the commercial trial.
Expressing satisfaction over the design and the prototype of the Cube container, the Minister said that Railways was giving an impetus to the vision of PM's ‘Gati Shakti’, which is to modernise the railway system to enhance speed, making it a sustainable multimodal system.
The focus is on increasing the freight business. Diversifying from traditional bulk cargo of coal, cement and petroleum and targeting and engaging small and medium cargo customers will open avenues and vistas for Railways.
The first commercial trial is slated to be on 15 December 2021 and is expected to be flagged off by the Railway Minister.
The 9-feet Cube container can carry eight two-wheelers at a time, while, for three-wheelers, it has the capacity to carry three such vehicles.
One full rake with 270 Cube containers is expected to carry 2,160 motorcycles. For three-wheelers, the capacity is 810 such vehicles at a time.
The introduction of Cube containers in the system is expected to increase loadings substantially, as the Cube rake has the capacity of carrying a total of 675 tonnes of parcel cargo.
Since the Railways has a target of 1,400 tonnes of loading for the current fiscal, Cube containers are likely to help the public transporter achieve its target in a smooth way.
Besides two-wheelers, Cube containers can carry engineering goods, vegetables, fruits, pharmaceuticals and other goods in the FMCG sector.
The transportation of goods on rails is 20 to 30 per cent cheaper than by road.
Besides, rail transportation is also environmentally friendly as it helps in reducing emissions.
The Cube container operating model proposes an end-to-end service approach — from as close as possible to origin, to as close as possible to destination — thus reducing logistic costs.
According to the Railways, the train load of mixed Cube and ISO containers with cargo from all segments can also be targeted.
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