Mangalore: Konkan Railway's Ro-ro Service Enables Easy, Fuel-efficient Transport
Pics: Ramesh Pandith
Daijiworld Media Network - Mangalore (PS)
Mangalore, Jul 24: "The ro-ro (roll-on roll-off) service by Konkan Railway started 13 years ago is a unique service that has enabled transport of loaded trucks directly by railway wagons. This is win-win project," said deputy chief commercial manager of Konkan Railways Nandu Telang.
Addressing a press meet at the Konkan Railway Corporation service office on Tuesday July 24, Telang said that as of now, five rakes are operating, and soon a sixth one will be added.
"The ro-ro service has reduced expenditure on diesel, wear and tear of tyres and maintanance of trucks for operators, and has lso ensured on-time and intact delivery," he said, adding that in 13 years since its inception, there has not been a single case of accident.
"At the national level, this service has helped to conserve precious fuel and reduced pollution levels along the route," he said.
The ro-ro service is currently functioning between Kolad and Verna in Maharashtra (417 km, 8-10 hours journey), Kolad and Suratkal (721 km, 24 hours journey), and Ankola and Suratkal (205 km, 3-5 hours journey).
On the Kolad-Verna route, 15 metric tonnes of load costs Rs 4,500, with every additional tonne costing Rs 300; on Kolad-Suratkal route, 15 metric tonnes costs Rs 6,900, with Rs 400 for every additional tonne.
"This year (2011-2012) as many as 35,000 trucks were carried in all the five rakes. All kinds of goods are transported, including perishable ones but excluding inflammable items like petrol," Telang said.
"Over the 13 years, the ro-ro service has fetched a profit of Rs 205. 60 crore," he added, lamenting that the only downside was the affect on the service due to ban on mining following Lokayukta reports of illegal mining in the state.
He said that at present, only Konkan Railway runs this service, while others are contemplating its introduction. "It is left to the railway ministry to decide on introducing the service across the country. The railway board of India is considering its practicability," he said.
Listing out the advantages of the service to operators he said that some of the benefits include increase in profit margins, no risk of accident, fuel conservation, and less paper work. For railways, the advantages are that goods can be carried to-and-fro, there is no requirement of goods sheds, no possibility of detention on terminals even on holidays, and no additional overhead costs.
For the nation, the advantage lies in the fact that each ro-ro rake carries 40 trucks, saving approximately 10 litres of diesel per kilometer. "Hence, the service contributes to fuel conservation. It has also resulted in reduction of road accidents on NH 66," he said.
"Road transport is mainly in the private sector. A large number of truck owners are looking forward to reaping the benefits of fuel efficiency of railways. This has also increased the number of trips undertaken to transport goods and enhanced the value of their assets," he added.
"Earlier, goods on railways were suppplied in containers which needed machinery for their loading and unloading. However, ro-ro service has eliminated that problem and enabled door-to-door service to the end user," he said.
Assistant commercial manager of Konkan Railway Corporation Sunil Narkar, assistant traffic mangaer Vinay, and manager and PRO V G Ghatge were present.