Indian Railways invites private firms to develop goods sheds

Railway ministry has issued a policy to develop goods sheds at small, road side stations via private sector investment, it said Thursday.

The move is expected to enhance its terminal capacity through private sector participation by revamping existing goods-sheds as well as setting up of new facilities that the national transporter has not been able to execute due to lack of resources.

Indian Railways has been trying to increase the modal share of its freight business, which also requires augmentation of line and terminal capacity. “The policy shall be applicable for setting up of new (green-field) goods-shed, and can also be applied for development of existing (brown-field) goods-sheds as decided by zonal railway,” according to a railway ministry circular.

The private entity will be selected for development of facilities through a transparent open bidding process. The facilities will be developed by the company with its own investment.

“Share in the terminal charges (TC) and terminal access charges (TAC), as the case may be, for all the inward and outward traffic dealt at the goods-shed for five years, from the date of completion of the work. The party seeking the least share (TC/TAC) shall be selected through competitive bidding. Additional revenue for party through – utilization of available space for establishing small canteen/tea-shop, advertisements, etc,” railway ministry said in a statement.

In case of brownfield goods sheds, private companies will have to repair, redevelop and maintain the existing facilities. They will also have to set up additional facilities such as general lighting, drinking water facilities, among other infrastructure set up. In case of a greenfield project, the entity will have to develop loading, unloading facilities for full rakes, approach roads, drainage, facilities for the labour, among others.

“The proposed goods-shed should not in any way hamper or obstruct the existing users of rail facilities at the concerned station,” it said.

Railways will not levy any departmental or any other charges for the construction. The facilities created by the private party will have to be used as common user facility, and no priority will be granted to the rail traffic of the company over the traffic of other customers, the statement said.