With the aim to reduce carbon emission and restrict the use of fossil fuel, Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFCC) Corporation has floated a tender inviting private players to be a part of the "roll-on, roll-off" service between Palanpur in Gujarat and Rewari in Haryana on the Western DFC, which would potentially get around 2,500 trucks off the roads in the region.
Gearing up to start the service next month, the RO-RO service is expected to decongest the road facilitating movement of around 300 trucks on rail wagons daily in flat 10 hours compared to 24-36 hours taken for trucks to cover this distance by road.
According to the bid document, the winning bidder will have the sole rights to ferry fully-loaded trucks on trains on the 714-km stretch for one year.
This is one of the low hanging fruits for the DFCC, according to Indian Railways.
The base value of the contract will be Rs 81 crore and this is based on calculations that each trip would earn an estimated Rs 9 lakh.
The RO-RO service aims to reduce carbon emission and congestion on roads as this is likely to take a large number of trucks off the roads. Nearly 66,000 diesel-guzzling trucks pass through Delhi and its adjoining areas daily on the way to Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
Officials said the service will be faster as the fully loaded trains would run at 75 kmph and it would be cost effective as the charges per truck would be around Rs 20,000.
Moreover, transporters won’t need to pay any toll charges as these won’t use the highways.
The bid document says, “two rakes consisting of 45 broad gauge rail wagon each, modified/customised and made suitable by the Indian Railways for loading and unloading of trucks on/from each of the wagons as RO-RO service. Further, facilities like entry/exit ramps, connectivity from traffic yard to a motorable road and lighting in traffic yard would be provided by DFCCIL.”
The service was first launched in 2017 by the then railway minister Suresh Prabhu, but failed due to technical reasons.
Officials said this system will create a win-win situation for truckers as goods will be transported in a safe and faster way, saving the cost on diesel and man-hours, besides reducing pollution levels.
Officials estimate that around 2,500 to 3,000 trucks ply between Rewari and Palanpur on a daily basis.
From Rewari, the trucks carry goods to the ports of Gujarat and areas such as Kutch, Mundra, Kandla, Gandhidham, Palanpur, Mehsana, Ahmedabad, Vadodara and Surat.
From Palanpur, the trucks move towards the National Capital Region (NCR) and north Indian cities such as Rewari, Hisar, Agra, Ghaziabad, Haridwar, Dehradun, Chandigarh and Ludhiana.
The time taken by road is about 24 to 36 hours and the cost to the customer is around Rs 20,185 per truck for approximately 714 km, officials said. This also leads to high carbon emission and congestion.
Using the WDFC would mean that the trucks would cover a similar distance (636 km) in 10 hours at a speed of 75 kmph.
The request for proposal (RFP) issued by the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Limited (DFCCIL) on 16 February states that the winning bidder will have the sole rights to ferry fully-loaded trucks on trains on the 714 km stretch for a period of one year.
Arun Kumar Das is a senior journalist covering railways. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
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