JNPT takes on rival Mundra port with dwarf container train service

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on September 20, 2021

Sarbananda Sonowal   -  The Hindu

The inaugural run of the service from the port to ICD in Kanpur was flagged off by Shipping Minister Sarbananda Sonowal

State-owned Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) has started a train service carrying ‘dwarf containers’ loaded with cargo in a twin strategy that seeks to overcome the ongoing acute shortage of empty boxes for exports and neutralise the disadvantage arising from delay in linking the port with the dedicated freight corridor that allows running of double stack container trains.

The dwarf container train service is a strategic and tactical move by JNPT to compete with Mundra port which overtook it as India’s biggest container gateway in FY21.

The inaugural run of the laden dwarf containers from JNPT to the inland container depot (ICD) in Kanpur was flagged off on Monday by Sarbananda Sonowal, Union Minister for Ports, Shipping, and Waterways.

The ‘dwarf containers’ are lesser in height by 660 mm compared to normal ISO containers, giving them a logistical edge. The low height of dwarf containers loaded on trailers can pass through rural, semi-urban and urban roads, through limited height subways and level crossing in electrified sections.

Besides, the dwarf containers enable 67 per cent increase in volume when double-stacked and can carry a weight of 71 tonnes, against 40 tonnes by an ISO container, making cargo evacuation from JNPT faster even in the absence of DFC connectivity.

The Indian Railways has offered 17 per cent discount on haulage cost for dwarf container trains compared to double stack ISO container trains, resulting in an overall 33 per cent discount to shippers making the Indian Railways competitive.

JNPT is set to gain from the roll-out of the service as the rail movement of cargo through double stacked dwarf containers, would offer competitive cost advantage to the export-import (EXIM) trade, resulting in an increase in port cargo traffic via rail route.

“The commencement of dwarf container train services from JNPT is a pivotal step towards streamlining the rail movement of EXIM cargo via double-stacked dwarf containers,” Sonowal said.

“This will give the EXIM trade a competitive cost advantage by lowering hinterland logistical costs, while simultaneously enhancing rail cargo traffic at JNPT. Dwarf containers are port-friendly and can be manufactured in India at a cost-efficient price point, thereby opening-up opportunities for Make in India,” he added.

The service will help JNPT increase throughput, raise productivity, reduce congestion at gate and road as well as improve turnaround time of ISO containers.

The EXIM trade is currently facing a huge shortage of empty ISO containers for exports and this initiative will be a game changer as the turnaround time of containers will come down from month to few days as the import laden ISO containers need not go all the way to the hinterland, Sonowal said.

JNPT has set up a dwarf container depot within its premises where cargo arriving on ships in ISO containers are transferred to the dwarf containers and dispatched to destinations by rail.

The empty ISO containers would thus be quickly available to the nearby container freight stations and factories for export stuffing.

JNPT has mandated Pristine Mega Logistics Park Pvt Ltd to manage, maintain and operate the dedicated dwarf container depot.

Published on September 20, 2021

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