Indian Railways has decided not to levy haulage charges for movement of empty containers and empty flat wagons from Tuesday till April 30, in a bid to promote greater use of rail for movement of cargo to deal with the fallout of the corona virus.
The decision was communicated to Zonal Railways in a circular issued by the Railway Board on Monday.
From 2018, Indian Railways is offering a 25 per cent discount on the prevailing haulage rate per twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) for movement of empty containers and empty flat wagons.
Hailing the decision as a “big move” by the Indian Railways, particularly to tackle the shortage of resources for road transport, container terminal operators said that they are passing on the benefit to their customers.
Singapore’s PSA International Pte Ltd said it will “waive Rail THC (Terminal Handling Charges) for empty containers on rakes at our terminals connecting to/from vessels at our terminals (at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust and Chennai Port Trust) as well as change of mode charges from road to rail for both empty and laden containers until April 30”.
PSA International is the world’s top container terminal operator.
“We will continue to monitor the situation closely, but we urge customers to make all efforts to evacuate containers from our terminals as soon as practically possible,” said a trade advisory issued by PSA India on Tuesday.
“All our terminals in India, namely PSA Mumbai, PSA Chennai, PSA Kolkata and PSA Sical in Tuticorin are continuing to operate as usual as part of the essential services highlighted by the Government, with added safety and hygiene measures. We are working hard alongside many other people, companies and authorities throughout the supply chain to ensure that essential goods continue to make their way to the markets as smoothly as possible,” PSA India said in the trade advisory.
State-run Container Corporation of India Ltd (CONCOR) in a public notice said it will not levy rail freight charges on re-positioning of empty containers from its flagship inland container depot at Tughlakabad to all locations till April 30.