The ambitious Gati Shakti Cargo Terminal initiative is gaining traction with the Railways confident of setting up at least 100 cargo terminals by 2024-25.

According to latest data with the Railway Ministry, 12 such terminals have already been commissioned while another 96 players have submitted applications.

“The response to the scheme has been very good and we have got 96 confirmed applications for terminals and another 12, which are already being set up,” said an official source, adding that some of the applicants who had earlier applied for private freight terminals are now keen on applying under the Gati Shakti Cargo Terminal (GCT) Scheme.

In a recent reply to a Lok Sabha question, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw had given the break up of 93 locations identified for such GCTs. These include 13 locationsin Maharashtra, 11 in Uttar Pradesh, seven each in Bihar, Jharkhand and Punjab, six in West Bengal and five each in Assam, Haryana, Odisha and Telangana.

“Gati Shakti Cargo Terminals (GCTs), as identified, are targeted to be commissioned within next three financial years (that is up to 2024-25),” he said.

According to officials, the Ministry is also working with applicants to iron out any problems but they pointed out that land related issues are often a challenge.

Railways had in December 2021 announced the Gati Shakti Multi Modal Cargo Terminal Policy to promote proliferation of new cargo terminals and improve the existing terminals through investment from industry. This in turn would also give a boost to the railways’ freight business.

Under the policy, the applicant or GCT operator is responsible for arranging, acquiring, leasing and licensing of non Railway land for the development of the terminal. 

The policy includes features such as simplified application and approval process, for quick and hassle-free approvals, no departmental charges on the applicant and no land license fees for railway land used for connectivity. The capital cost for all common user traffic facilties at the serving station is also borne by the Railways.