Category Archives: Rail/Road

Fixed driving hours for commercial truck drivers will reduce road accidents

The issue of drivers’ safety has always been one of the biggest concerns for the industry. In view of this, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, with an aim to reduce road accidents, has pitched for fixed driving hours for commercial truck drivers. He also spoke in favour of installing onboard sleep detection sensors in commercial vehicles for added safety. The Road Transport and Highways Minister said, “driving hours for truck drivers should be fixed similar to pilots’ to reduce fatigue-induced road accidents.” Earlier, Gadkari attended the introductory meeting of new members nominated to the National Road Safety Council (NRSC). The minister also said he has now directed the council to meet every two months and share their updates. About one-fourth of the truck drivers featured in a 2018 study conducted by lubricant manufacturer Castrol complained of sleep deprivation. Up to 53% reported physical and psychological issues such as fatigue, insomnia, obesity, backache, joint and neck pain, poor vision, breathlessness, stress and loneliness.

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Sarbananda Sonowal flags-off dwarf container train at JNPT

In a major development at the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), one of India’s premier container handling port, the Union Minister for Ports, Shipping, and Waterways, Sarbananda Sonowal, virtually flagged-off the dwarf container train service from JNPT in the presence of Dr. Sanjeev Ranjan, IAS, Secretary, Ministry of Ports, Shipping, and Waterways, Sanjay Sethi, IAS, Chairman, JNPT and Unmesh Sharad Wagh, IRS, Deputy Chairman, JNPT. With this, the first consignment of laden Dwarf containers from Dwarf container depot (DCD) at the port was being moved by train to ICD Kanpur. The port is set to gain steadily from the implementation the Dwarf container train services from JNPT, as the rail movement of EXIM cargo through double stacked dwarf containers, would offer competitive cost advantage to the EXIM community, resulting in an increase in port cargo traffic via rail route.As the name suggests, the ‘Dwarf Containers’ are lesser in height by 660 mm than normal ISO containers, giving them a logistical edge. The Low height of dwarf container loaded on trailers can pass through rural, semi urban and urban roads, through limited height subways & level crossing in electrified sections. Furthermore, the ‘Dwarf’ containers provide a 67% increase in volume when double-stacked and can carry a weight of 71 tons, against 40 tons by an ISO container.

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Ecom Express launches delivery partner initiative ‘Ecom Sanjeev Program’

Ecom Express has announced the launch of its delivery partner initiative under the name of “Ecom Sanjeev Program (ESP)” that is aimed at creating part-time work opportunities for individuals that allow them to work at flexible timings to maximise their earnings by delivering e-commerce packages to customers. “This program, besides empowering the gig workforce, will help to scale the company’s delivery capabilities in assuring speed, reliable and effective logistics solutions to deliver online-ordered products safely at customers’ doorstep. Ecom Express is looking at engaging 16000 + gig workforce as independent delivery partners to handle the upcoming e-commerce festive season shipment load in key cities and districts across the country,” reads the release.

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Government concerned over delayed Rail Freight Corridor project

The government has sought a list of all components of the Dedicated Rail Freight Corridor project that has been delayed due to various orders given by judiciary as well as the National Green Tribunal (NGT) while expressing concerns over the cost escalations and continuous delays of the project. This comes with the fast-approaching commissioning target for the project, which is scheduled for June 2022. In a recently held review meeting, which was chaired by the Prime Minister himself, governments of Maharashtra and Gujarat were asked to complete land acquisition process, relief and rehabilitation work as well as construction of road over bridges as soon as possible. As per reports, PM Modi asked Maharashtra government to acquire and hand over around 0.27 hectares of private land by October 15, 2021 and even asked it prioritise the project and complete all the given work on time.

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Railways to speed up movement of empty containers from ports

The huge shortage of the empty container faced by the Indian exporters can be well addressed if the government speed up the movement of empty containers from ports to the hinterland for loading export goods and stop empty boxes from being taken out of the country. This could definitely help improve the availability of containers, if not bring the freight rates down. Exporters have been looking for support from the government with the ever-increasing freight rates and shortage of containers in the nation, which is constantly increasing their operational costs. While the government has been looking at ways to help the exporters, a source from the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways said that there is hardly anything they can do regarding freight rates. The government is veering around to the view that all empty containers from ports to hinterland locations in the North should move by rail only, which typically takes about three days from the western region.

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Logistics major Aramex to split core business for growth opportunities

In its transition to a new operating model, Aramex has announced its plans of splitting its business in two: Aramex Express will cater to e-commerce and B2C; while Aramex Logistics will become the freight forwarding B2B arm. The company believes that this reshuffle will “enhance customer service levels and operating efficiencies, while capturing greater global market share”. Aramex Express, which includes international and domestic delivery, will serve the B2C customer base, including Shop & Ship, e-commerce, FMCG, SMEs and other customers needing “innovative last-mile solutions”. The company has been a strong player in e-commerce deliveries across the Middle East, with a marked presence in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Aramex Logistics, which includes air freight, sea freight, land freight and warehousing and distribution, will serve the B2B customer base across multiple industries including oil & gas, healthcare & pharmaceutical, aerospace and retail & fashion.

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Indian Railways records highest freight loading and earning in August 2021

Cutting through the challenges posed by the COVID pandemic, Indian Railways have recorded the highest freight loading and earning figures in the month of August. As per the statement released by the Railway Ministry, the freight loading by Indian Railways was 110.55 million tonnes which is 16.87% higher compared to the month of August last year (94.59 million tonnes of freight loading for the same period). In addition to this, the Indian Railways has also earned an amount of INR 10,866.20 crore from freight loading during the month of August 2021, which is 20.16% higher compared to August 2020. The national transporter in the month of August transported 13.53 million tonnes of Iron Ore, 47.94 million tonnes of Coal, 3.60 million tonnes of Mineral Oil, 5.77 million tonnes of Pig Iron as well as Finished Steel, 4.16 million tonnes of Fertilizers, 6.88 million tonnes of Food Grains, 6.3 million tonnes of Cement (excluding clinker) as well as 4.51 million tonnes of Clinker.

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E-commerce giants to reinforce their blue-collar workforce

E-commerce platforms like Amazon India, Flipkart and Zomato, ahead of the festive season, have begun adding new members to their blue-collar arsenal. As the pandemic-era curbs have fuelled strong growth in online ordering, the e-commerce giants are luring them with joining and performance-linked bonuses to efficiently meet consumer demand. This festive season, the e-commerce companies and logistics operators are expecting a sales estimated to rise as much as 15% more than the pre-pandemic festive season in 2019, said Nilabh Kapoor, business head, OLX People, a recruitment service provider. “With businesses recovering in most parts, hiring of temporary workers has seen 3-4X growth in the recent past and is expected to double during the festive season to keep up with rising demand across platforms,” Kapoor said.

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DP World to partner in Ghazipur ICD

The inland container depot (ICD) project in Gazipur’s Dhirashram area is finally going to be implemented under the public-private partnership (PPP) model as the government is considering making Dubai-based terminal operator DP World a partner in the venture. Officials of the Public Private Partnership Authority Bangladesh said DP World has already agreed to work on the project. Now, discussion is going on to fix the terms and conditions of the final agreement. Dr Najmus Sayadat, director (investment promotion) of PPP Authority, said, “We are preparing a document for DP World, which may take six months. The investment of DP World will be finalised based on the document.” The ICD will be built on a 160-acre site near Dhirashram Railway Station in Joydevpur, Gazipur. According to Bangladesh Railway, the cost of the project could be up to $300 million. Once it is complete, the Kamalapur ICD will be relocated to Dhirashram. This is expected to help container transport by rail go up by as high as 30%.

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India’s logistics market to grow at a CAGR of 10.5%

India’s logistics market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 10.5% until 2025 spurred by faster adoption of modern technology, e-enabled fleet, and warehouse management solutions. Had it not been for the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the logistics and supply chain industry — the backbone of global trade and services — would not have moved in a hurry to engineer the adoption of IoT, machine learning, and artificial intelligence in their day-to-day operations. “The disruptions caused by Covid-19 are making global companies rethink their supply chain strategy. Two major areas that are likely to see great traction are improved visibility across supply chains (both for cargo shipments and documentation) and drawing a balance between just-in-time and just-in-case,” says Sanjay Bhatia, Co-founder & CEO at Freightwalla, a digital freight forwarder.

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