Railway Minister Piyush Goyal-led Indian Railways takes another big step to improve freight movement from North-East! This time the national transporter has connected North-east Region to the West Coast by running a Parcel Cargo Express Train (PCET) for transportation of agricultural produce of Northeast region such as pineapple, turmeric, ginger, cane, tea, wax as well as industrial finished goods from New Guwahati Yard (NGC) in Guwahati to Kalyan in Maharastra. Initially, the PCET will run twice in a month between NGC to Kalyan. The maiden run between of the PCET is scheduled to start today.
By ensuring supplies of medicines, Continuous Process Plants (CPP) raw material, army CSD consignments, essential supplies, infra-structure inputs etc., being loaded from the West Coast for Northeast, the PCET will meet the demands of the seven sisters of Northeast namely Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh. As per the Railway Ministry policy, on its return journey, the production will be transported to these states at a cheaper rate, giving a boost to the agricultural community as well as the nascent agro/petro based industries of the Northeast region.
While Indian Railways is monitoring a range of operations to make sure the material reaches just-in-time, the operations for transportation have been simplified and made single window by leasing out the Parcel space.
The leased PCET is cost effective as the logistics costs are cheaper as compared to roadways. It has single window operations and allows a door to door facility. At one time, the PCET can carry 450 tonnes of material. It has insulated coaching wagons and is certified to run at a speed of 110 km per hour. It will follow a scheduled path and a timetable and there will be no cost escalation for 3 years. Additionally, the PCET offers assured supply of Wagon/Rakes and also there is the flexibility of increasing the number of Rakes per month.
Interestingly, the N.F. Railway of Indian Railways had run the very first PCET to Patel Nagar in Delhi. According to Railways, for small-scale local producers of Northeast region, such a train would be a boon as their products could easily access the markets of other parts of the country.