CONCOR Nippon Express partner for Freight

NEW DELHI: India entered into a collaboration with Japan for providing scheduled freight rail services between Delhi and Bengaluru.

Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism has picked logistics firm Nippon Express to collaborate with Indian Railways and Container Corporation of India for providing rail services that will transport finished cars as well as general cargo.

The first train service will depart from Delhi for Bengaluru on January 20 and will make a return journey on January 24. The transit time for the service is less than 70 hours on each side.

“The project is aimed at improving rail freight services and hope this project is expanded throughout the country and not only on the Delhi-Bengaluru sector,” Japanese Ambassador to India Kenji Hiramatsu said here on Wednesday.

‘Freight unattractive’

“Rail freight transportation cost in India is not very appealing for users. We need to work towards competitive pricing so that more users are attracted towards it,” said Norifumi Idee, Managing Executive Officer, Nippon Express.

Indian Railways Executive Director (Traffic Transportation) A.K. Behera said the train service would lead to additional freight volumes and increased frequency on the route as only one time-tabled freight train is running on the Delhi-Bengaluru route currently.

“We run seven time-tabled freight services across the country at present. Nippon Express will be the first major foreign player running a time-tabled freight train for us,” he said.

The Japanese government is also supporting India’s high-speed bullet train project between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. Of an estimated ₹97,636 crore, 81% of the funding for the 508-km project will come in as a loan from Japan. Further, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is providing assistance to the Indian Railways in the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor and the Chennai-Bengaluru Industrial Corridor. JICA had last year signed an agreement with the Indian government to provide ₹6,100 crore in loans for the Dedicated Freight Corridor Project.