Railway Minister inaugurates first SFTO rake carrying steel coils

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Jamshedpur: Minister for Railways, Mr Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu, today digitally inaugurated the first steel coil-carrying Special Freight Train Operations (SFTO) rake of TM International Logistics Ltd (TMILL) from Rail Bhawan in New Delhi. Present on the occasion were senior officials of the Railway Board, Chairman of TMILL, Managing Directors of TMILL and GATX India Private Limited, among others.

TMILL, a joint venture of Tata Steel, NYK Holding (Europe) B.V. and IQ Martrade Holding GmbH of Germany, commenced operations with three BFNSM1 rakes. The first rake carrying steel coils departed from Tata Steel’s Jamshedpur plant today for Chennai. These rakes will also be deployed for carrying finished steel products from Tata Steel’s Kalinganagar plant in Odisha. TMILL has leased the rakes from GATX India Private Limited, a leading global railcar lessor.

SFTO is a policy initiative of Indian Railways to encourage private investment in rolling stock. Under this policy, TMILL has been granted a 20-year license as of September 2016 by Indian Railways to invest in/lease rakes for movement of finished steel products. The BFNSM1 Rakes (22.9 Ton axle load) can carry 2750 Tonnes of Steel Coils per rake and offer a competitive alternative to freight movement by road.

Besides significant reduction in overall logistics cost, the SFTO scheme offers several other benefits. Under this scheme, private companies investing in wagons will get a 12 per cent rebate on freight. The rakes have to run between two pre-determined origin and destination points with both having private siding / freight terminal.

Mr Sudanshu Pathak, Vice President, Steel Manufacturing, Tata Steel, who ceremonially flagged off the rake from Tata Steel Jamshedpur, lauded this long-awaited initiative of Indian Railways, Tata Steel and TMILL resulting in an efficient and sustainable outbound logistics solution for Tata Steel’s finished products.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Sunil Bhaskaran, Vice President, Corporate Services, Tata Steel, appreciated the collaborative efforts of Indian Railways, Tata Steel and TMILL. This is a step towards environment-friendly transportation as there is no wood usage in SFTO rake movement, he said.

Mr Sandipan Chakravortty, Chairman of TMILL, said: “With this, a new era has begun in efficient and cost-effective rail transportation of steel coils in India”.

Mr R N Murthy, Managing Director of TMILL, said: “This is an important strategic initiative for TMILL Group. We expect this business to grow exponentially in the coming years. We would like to thank Indian Railways for their support in making this a reality”.

According to Mr Saurabh Sood, Managing Director, GATX India Private Limited, the company will leverage GATX’s 118 years of global expertise in the area of rail wagon leasing and continue to collaborate with India Railways and user industries to expand the scope and competitive advantage of rail transportation in India.

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