Introduction of ‘Dwarf’ double-stack containers has opened up opportunities.
In April 2017, bonus shares of CONCOR (Container Corporation of India) were issued in the ratio of 1:4. Again, in June this year, its Rs 10 share was subdivided into two of Rs 5 each. Yet the share, which was quoted at Rs 1,300 a couple of months ago and is now quoting at Rs 670, is a measure of its continued success. With a very large footprint of 79 terminals and extensive coverage provided by the Indian Railways’ 65,000-km of network, it strides like a colossus on India’s container business map.
The creation of six more terminals at Mihan (Nagpur), Naya Raipur, New Mangalore Port, Balli (South Goa), Varnama (Vadodara) and Paradip Port is in the works, and in a few years it may indeed hit a century.
A Miniratna company, CONCOR transported 3 million TEUs (Twenty Foot Equivalent Units) in exim and 0.53 million TEU domestic containers last year, and is the largest CTO (Container Train Operator), with 17 others in the private sector not coming anywhere close. Of its 79 terminals, 14 exclusively deal with exim cargo, and ICD (Inland Container Depot) at Dadri in UP alone running 10 such timetabled express trains everyday. With a capability of running double-stack ISO containers on the non-electrified section of Rewari-Phulera-Palanpur-Pipavav port in Gujarat, as many as 200 such trains are run every month, providing economies of scale.
Over the years, CONCOR has entered into strategic partnerships with a number of business entities. In order to encourage volumes, it offers discounts of Rs 400 per TEU, going up to Rs 500, Rs 800 and Rs 1,000 for bronze, silver, gold and platinum clients who are loading 1,001 to 3,000, 3,001 to 6,000, 6,001 to 12,000, or above 12,000 TEUs per annum. Currently, there are no less than four platinum, two gold, three silver and 12 bronze associates (21 in all) who provide all the domestic containers for CONCOR to move. While CONCOR enjoys 75% share of all domestic containers moved, GRFL (GatewayRail Freight Ltd) is a distant second, with 7% market share.
Owning 322 rakes of 45 wagons each, and 20,695 containers, for domestic traffic, its three core businesses—cargo carrier, terminal operator and MMLP (Multi Modal Logistics Parks) operator—earned `6,469.71 crore in 2017-18, a quantum jump of 78% over its earnings of `3,628,25 crore in 2008-09. In order to gain from the speedy transit of exim cargo on the upcoming western leg of DFC (Dedicated Freight Corridor), CONCOR is busy setting up two new MMLPs in DMIC (Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor)—Khatuwas near Rewari spread over 285 acres, and Swarupgunj (near Phulera). Moving privately-owned reefers (refrigerated containers) requires power supply and 24×7 monitoring, for which a 40-feet container is normally converted to house the power pack as well as the accommodation for the accompanying staff.
CONCOR has also successfully developed a 20-feet container with a smaller power pack, an AC cabin with two bunk beds, a toilet, etc, in order to save on space and energy costs, if only half the train is carrying reefers.
Keeping up with its obligations under CSR, its expenditure has grown from a mere Rs 1 crore in FY2011 to Rs 24.45 crore spent in FY2018.
Projects have varied from installing solar lamps to upgrading passenger amenities at major stations such as New Delhi, Vadodara, Guwahati, etc. It has also organised health camps, funded skill development programmes, and supported education for about 2,000 children affected by violence in J&K, Gujarat, Assam and Manipur.
Setting its sights high, it has plans to double its throughput from the current 3.5 million TEUs to 7 million TEUs, turnover to Rs 12,000 crore, net worth to `10,000 crore, earnings to `10,000 crore, and market share to 80%, all by 2020—a tall order. The recent introduction of ‘Dwarf’ double-stack containers on the Jamnagar-Rewari electrified route by Kalyani Cast Tech has opened up a fund of opportunities for CONCOR and its business associates to wean away a major chunk of white goods and bulky cargo from the road sector. Going forward, the investment in a few hundred ‘Dwarf’ containers at about `5 lakh a piece, some superb salesmanship, persistence and a focused approach after a survey of opportunities the market has to offer, could make it possible.