New Delhi, November 6: After trial-runs since September, APL Logistics Vascor Automotive is ready to start moving cars on trains between the National Capital Region and Chennai from November 7. Vehicles of Hyundai, Ford and Renault India will be transported from their factories in the South to the Northern region, while Hondas vehicles from its factories in the north will be moved to the Southern market, multiple sources said. APL Logistics Vascor is a joint venture between APL Logistics and US-based Vascor, which specialise in supply chain management and automotive logistics, respectively. This will be the first third party automobile freight train operator (AFTO) under the Railway Ministrys policy to offer such a service. Maruti Suzuki, another registered AFTO, is a captive user and does not offer the service to other carmakers.
Safer mode We have done three trials over the last few days and we sent 150 cars in the last trial from Rewari (Haryana) to Chennai. We are trying to see how viable this would be in the future. We are sure this would be safer for our vehicles than roads and will be an environment-friendly mode, Jnaneswar Sen, Senior Vice-President, Marketing and Sales, Honda Cars India, said. Ford India has also confirmed that the company has done some trials. Renault India, which has done initial trials, said it is analysing the efficiency of this model from a long-term business perspective. Globally, rail transportation is the preferred mode by auto companies as it enables higher capacity and flexibility, and is a safer, quicker and economically and environmentally efficient option compared to transportation by road, said a Renault India spokesperson. Under this policy of Indian Railways, various firms can invest in specialised wagons to transport automobiles on the rail mode.
Wagon orders Earlier this year, APL Logistics has placed orders with wagon manufacturer Texmaco Rail and Engineering for procuring three rakes with specially designed wagons to transport cars. Each rake comprises 27 wagons and can move 300 small cars. The share of automobiles that are transported on the rail mode in India is in single digits. But in the markets like the US, almost 70 per cent of the total automobiles move by the rail mode, William K Villalon, Senior Vice-President, APL Logistics Automotive, and Chairman of the joint venture, had earlier told BusinessLine. Automobile transportation on the Indian Railways is expected to get a boost after the dedicated rail freight corridors are in place. APL Logistics also operates container trains in India through a service branded IndiaLinx.