Uncontainable strategy: Double Stack dwarf Containers can make CWC relevant again

The Central Warehousing Corporation, however, has been spared. Part of the food security chain, it manages 419 warehouses across the country and is charged with providing logistics support to the agricultural sector.

Uncontainable strategy: Double Stack dwarf Containers can make CWC relevant again

 

Uncontainable strategy, Double Stack Dwarf Container, CWC, FCI, Indian Railways, ISO, financial express, financial express editorial
FCI along with other state agencies procures wheat and paddy under price support scheme.

In a bid to cut government flab, it’s been proposed to wind up the State Trading Corporation (STC). Set up in 1956, to trade predominantly in bulk agro products, such as, rice, wheat, castor oils, sugar, edible oils, etc, it had lost its raison d’etre with liberalisation and globalisation.

The Central Warehousing Corporation, however, has been spared. Part of the food security chain, it manages 419 warehouses across the country and is charged with providing logistics support to the agricultural sector.

Similarly, FCI along with other state agencies procures wheat and paddy under price support scheme. It also undertakes movement of food grains in order to evacuate stocks from surplus regions, create buffer stocks in deficit regions, and meet the requirements of deficit regions for NFSA and TPDS etc.

Every year on an average 45-50 million tonnes of food grains are transported by FCI, which is carried out between 1906 FCI owned & hired depots or silos, 557 rail-heads (owned by Indian Railways and others) and 98 FCI’s own sidings. For this massive logistics exercise, it relies heavily on the storage space and other facilities provided by CWC.

CWC, after the STC shutdown has recently engaged PBK Consultants Pvt Ltd to prepare a DPR for running of DSDC (Double Stack Dwarf Containers) on Railway’s electrified sections. This is now under active consideration by FCI.

ISO containers are already used by Finland, Malaysia, and Canada to exports food grains, in India rice is exported using these containers. DSDC offers a greater loadability as compared to an ISO container, especially on electrified sections.

Apart from the elimination of manual handling, the DSDC’s competitiveness for Rail transport reduces the breakeven distance from 800 kms to 450 kms. While both the Western and Eastern Dedicated Freight corridors offer economies of scale, higher envelope is available on the Western corridor.

RDSO (Research Design and Standards Organisation) has already given a pan-India speed certificate for running DSDC containers, only 1,450 km of Jamnagar-Ludhiana via Rewari route has been cleared for actual running. Minor adjustments of OHE were made to maintain adequate gap between the top of DSDC and the Catenary.

Indian Railways has also condoned the dimensions of 4877 mm above rail level for movement of Dwarf Container in double-stack mode, which implies that these trains will not be considered as Over Dimensional Consignment (ODC) movement although they are beyond the prescribed Maximum Moving Dimensions (MMD ) permitted for the normal rolling stock.

In addition, routes with a potential for running DSDCs have been identified as Nabha-Ahmedabad-Vapi, Nabha-Hyderabad, Nabha-Bengaluru, Nabha-Pipavav-Mundra ports, Nabha-JNPT- Taloja, Nabha-Hajira and Hazira-Hyderabad via Akola on the newly converted Broad gauge section of Bhusawal Division, on Central Railway.

For the project to take off, certain modifications to the CWC warehouse/godowns would be needed, including demolition of the warehouse and providing cement concrete paved areas for stacking DSDC containers, loading/unloading machinery and storage silos. Overhead electrification wire would also need to be removed to provide access to fork lifts for loading/unloading.

Presently CWC has no less than 38 rail sidings which have the potential for DSDC movement. Alike bulk handling and transport system for cement from its manufacturing plant at Wadi to bulk storage Silos in KalamboIi near Mumbai has saved crores of rupees in transport and handling costs over last three decades for ACC. This initiative by CWC/FCI could bring in a revolution in cost-effective food grain movement all over India, and in the process save them from being consigned to history.

Author is Former member, Railway Board.
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