Mumbai, Sep 20 (IANS): Union Shipping Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Monday flagged off the country's first dwarf container train, from the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, Mumbai to the ICD Kanpur.
Dwarf containers are 2.16 feet (660 mm) shorter than the conventional ISO containers giving them a huge logistical edge, and can be loaded on trailers which can zip through rural, semi-urbanm and urban areas underneath low subways or level crossings in electrified sections, said an official.
Besides, they provide a 67 per cent increase in volume when double-stacked to carry a weight of 71 tonnes against 40 tones by the regular ISO containers.
The Indian Railway has extended 17 per cent discount on freight charges compared to double-stack ISO container trains, resulting in an overall 33 percent discounts to the shippers, which can significantly lower EXIM logistics costs and make Indian export more competitive globally.
Present at the flagging-off ceremony were Shipping Secretary, Dr Sanjeev Ranjan, JNPT Chairman Sanjay Sethi, and Deputy Chairman Umesh S. Wagh.
The JNPT is expected to gain steadily from the implementation of the dwarf container services and notch a growth in port cargo traffic via the railway route, besides reduce congestions and container shortages, and improve turnaround time of shipping line containers from a month to just a few days.
"This is a pivotal step towards streamlining rail movement of EXIM cargo via double-stacked dwarf containers, offering the EXIM community competitive cost advantages besides enhancing rail-cargo traffic at JNPT. Besides, the dwarf containers are port-friendly and can be manufactured domestically opening opportunities for 'Make in India' initiatives," Sonowal said.
One of the premier container handler ports in India, the JNPT was commissioned in May 1989 and has become the first in the country to cross the 50-Lakh TEUs mark.