After a gap of more than three years, direct rail services have resumed between PSA’s Chennai terminal in India and the CONCOR Inland Container Depot (ICD) in Hyderabad. The initial intermodal rail service carried 32 export containers of sunflower seeds from Hyderabad for loading onto a container vessel operated by Ocean Network Express calling in Chennai, bound for Manila, and two containers of PVC board for loading on a service operated by APL.
To support exporters in the Hyderabad area, 90 empty containers belonging to ONE also recently departed the PSA Mumbai’s railyard for CONCOR’s ICD at Hyderabad. These containers were first trucked to PSA Mumbai from nearby depots.
PSA Chennai and PSA Mumbai have both seen an increase in rail shipments from Hyderabad after a 2019 trade meet held by PSA India in the city. In April 2020, PSA Chennai, PSA Kolkata and PSA Mumbai all hit record highs in terms of the percentage of cargoes arriving or departing via rail, at 23.2%, 10.8% and 21.5% respectively.
V. Kalyana Rama, Chairman and Managing Director of CONCOR, said, “All CONCOR Terminals have functioned without any interruption during the lockdown period which not only helped export-import trade but also the movement of essential commodities across India.”
Rail has certainly played an essential role in ensuring freight continues to move across India during the crisis, especially given the shortage of trucks and manpower. PSA says it welcomes the concessions it has received from Indian Railways, CONCOR and other container train operators, but hopes for a major structural review in the pricing of rail container haulage, to encourage a more permanent modal shift.
PSA India Managing Director, Mike Formoso, says, “All our terminals are operating normally, with added safety precautions in place to protect our staff and port users. Storage utilisation remains within limits: there are no delays in vessel berthing nor in handling of outside transport.