Reliance Industries first company to use Railway’s double-stack dwarf container service

Mumbai: Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL) has become the first company to utilise the Indian Railway’s double-stack dwarf container service.

Reliance Industries hired an entire train and loaded 82 double-stake dwarf containers with polymer cargo. The train has successfully completed a maiden run from its rail siding at Kanalus in Jamnagar to Rewari in Haryana.

The move to search for energy efficient and lesser carbon footprint alternative transportation mode gathered momentum at RIL after its Chairman and Managing Director, Shri Mukesh D. Ambani instructed the petrochemicals division team to develop an eco-friendly, cost-effective and sustainable multi-modal transportation options.

The team had aggressively explored opportunities in Rail and other transport modes, as the business was totally relied on road transport for domestic transportation of petrochemical products.

Railways is unviable option for RIL, if goods are transported through standard containers, as most of the petrochemical products are light-weight resulting in higher dead freight, higher costs, expensive first and last leg transportation and longer transit time.

RIL always strive to develop unique, innovative, sustainable and eco-friendly solutions to enable growth for its stakeholders and create value for nation.

After exploring through various possibilities to overcome the existing challenges in using rail mode of transportation for petrochemical products, the team has zeroed in on the idea of double stack dwarf containers, which can run on existing rail wagons all over India. The concept of double stacking provides scope for higher load capacity, higher Payload and makes transportation of wider range of products such as light-weight polymers, white goods, FMCG products, home-appliances, auto cars, etc. viable, as compared to standard ISO containers. To develop the business model RIL collaborated with freight terminal service providers, container designing firms to make a robust business model and the proposal was submitted to Indian Railways officials.

Post successful cost-benefit analysis, the first proposal to practically test this model was made by RIL to Indian Railways in Jan 2016, seeking permission to explore various routes from Jamnagar. After a successful pilot run from Jamnagar to Ludhiana in December 2016, the proposal was officially announced in Rail Vikas Shivir, March 2017, as part of the 55 key strategic initiatives to be implemented by Indian Railways.

The double-stack dwarf containers proposal turned out to be a blessing in disguise as Railways was struggling to capture the lost traffic to road transport.

Each train carrying about 2600 metric tonnes can potentially replace about 130 trucks (considering 20 metric tonne capacity) from road and hence help in reducing pollution and decongest road network.

The concept of double stake dwarf containers will be beneficial to polymers, white goods, FMCG, home appliances, automobile industries. The service will help these industries in end to end cost-optimization, making supply of goods more reliable, mitigating seasonal constrains in road transportation, earning carbon credits.

The containers are shorter in size and can run on electrified tracks. Thus it enable the railways in double-stack movement of cargo and increased the ministry’s revenue.

A double-stack dwarf container is 6 ft 4 inches in height. Despite being smaller in size, the dwarf containers can hold a capacity of 30,500 kgs.

By using the dwarf containers, the transportation cost of various industries will significantly reduce as rail transport has become cheaper.