Delhi: The Indian Railways has opened up container
operations to private and public sector players, thereby
breaking the monopoly enjoyed by Container Corporation
of India till now. According to the ministry, those interested
can take route-specific or all-India permission by making
a one-time payment of Rs10-50 crore.
The Railways will grant operating permission for 20 years,
which can be further extended by another 10 years to transport
export-import (EXIM) and domestic traffic.
While the registration fee has been kept relatively low,
the earnings for the Railways would be through haulage
charges that the parties would have to pay on a per-container
basis. For instance for each container on the Delhi-Mumbai
route, operators would have to pay Rs12,000 as per current
haulage charges, which can be reviewed by the Railways
from time to time.
To apply, applicants need to have a net worth or annual
turnover of Rs100 crore. They will have to make their
own arrangements for a rail-linked inland container depot
(ICD) by leasing it from ICD owners or by owning it. They
also have to procure flat wagons for transporting containers,
whereas Railways would provide locomotives.
There is no cap on the number of players who would be
allowed to operate in each route.
The Railways would invite applications for one month every
year. Applicants will have to pay the registration fee
while applying. The registration fee of those applicants
who are not eligible will be refunded. The permission
would be for a 20-year period and can be extended by another
10 years subject to satisfactory functioning by the operator.
Players can exit operations by transferring the permission
another eligible operator, with Railways approval. Players
are free to decide the level of tariff for charging their
customers for rail haulage, terminal handling and ground