The Way Forward
Logistics rail transport
Railways should target attaining minimum 50 per cent share of the total dispatches of cement and clinker.
Wagon supply agreement
Railways should enter into annual agreements with cement manufacturers where it should commit to certain number of month-wise supplies of wagons during the year. On demand availability of two point and three point combinations of rakes: This facility shall help cement companies wherein a single rake can be used to service two-three markets, especially with the deployment of larger tonnage capacity Bogey Covered New Metric High Axle Load (BCNHL) wagons carrying 4,000 tonnes in comparison to 2,300 tonnes capacity of regular BCN wagon rakes.
Resolution of operational problems
Revising downward the loading capacity of BCNHL wagons from 68 tonnes to 62 tonnes: Since loading of 68 tonnes is technically neither practical nor feasible, the railways, therefore, needs to find possible solutions with the help of technical experts to enable full loading of wagons to their stated capacity. Till such time the solution is found, realistic carrying capacity of 62 tonnes per wagon be permitted due to safety reasons of labour, also. Permitting additional free time for loading/unloading of BCNHL rakes - In comparison to regular BCN rakes, BCNHL rakes have a larger number of wagons and thus have higher tonnage loading capacity. Thus, it is proposed that the free loading/unloading time for BCNHL wagons be increased from the current 9 hours to 13 hours.
Long-term contract at concessional rates for clinker movement. Development of special infrastructures for clinker handling at rail terminals.
Development of new goods sheds outside of major cities. Infrastructure facilities at terminals and goods sheds handling cement be created of world class standard like approach roads, platforms, lights, etc, for faster evacuation of materials.
Incentive policies should not be framed only for incremental traffic, retention of traffic is equally important. Need for customer friendly private wagon procurement. Railways must ensure that the policies announced by them should be simple, clear and transparent to avoid any chances of their misinterpretation at zonal / field levels. Bulk movement of cement and fly ash be encouraged through a conscious policy.
Need for establishment of regulatory mechanism
A suitable Rail Traffic Regulatory Mechanism may be established to resolve all rail matters including tariff and demurrages. Such a mechanism shall help in removing distortion.
Logistics - road transport
Increasing load carrying capacity of trucks: Due to the multi-axle feature of new generation trucks, the carrying capacity of trucks has increased significantly. Also, the multi-axle feature reduces the wear and tear impact on roads due to its uniform load distribution ability. Thus, the government needs to amend the Motor Vehicles Act to increase the loading capacity allowance of trucks and take into account the axle load of a truck to be 13 tonnes instead of the current 9 tonnes. This shall aid in adding economies and efficiencies to road transport of cement which remains the major share-bearer of cement transport.
Logistics - inland waterways
Inland Water Transport (IWT) is a fuel efficient, environment friendly and cost- effective mode of transport. Accordingly, the following aspects may be considered while formulating the policy / programme for IWT promotion: Necessary infrastructure needs to be created at the identified IWT terminals / jetties so as to integrate with other modes of transportations.Wherever mode specific concession is applicable, the same may be made for IWT at par with the other modes. If the waterway passes through more than one state, taxes/cess/duties etc, needs to be rationalised .Wherever port-hinterland connectivity exists through waterways, multi-modal transportation concept may be followed up to the riverine ports/terminals.
Wherever waterway advantage exists, Ro-Ro facility may be encouraged to de-congest the cities (e.g. Kolkata, Mumbai, etc.)