As automobile manufacturers look for options to cut costs, Indian Railways has come to the rescue of the struggling sector by offering cheaper rate of transportation and tailor-made service.
The state-run unit has been in talks with auto majors like Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors, Ford Motor, Mahindra & Mahindra, among others and all these companies have shown interest in raising their traffic via railways.
"We are providing competitive rates. Also, Railways provide a medium of transportation where there are lesser chances of damage to the vehicles," Member Traffic Purnendu S. Mishra said.
Railways has also decided to increase the flow of rakes for automobile segment. It used to provide 8 rakes for automobile traffic earlier and this has improved to 26 rakes currently. By the end of current financial year, the public sector unit hopes to dedicate 50 rakes for automobiles.
This is expected to improve the contribution of automobiles to railways freight traffic from 2 percent to 8-10 percent by March, Mishra added.
Railways is also working on customised wagons for automobiles, including passenger vehicles and two-wheelers, to garner more clients and boost traffic. Currently, Railways does not cater to two-wheelers.
"These tailor-made wagons will be ready by 8-10 months. These will be put in automobile hubs like Manesar, Chennai and Gujarat," Mishra said.
First Published: IST