Maruti Suzuki to move 30 Cars by dedicated trains

New Delhi: Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, the country’s largest passenger carmaker, will soon start transporting its vehicles through rail wagons specially designed to carry more cars, in which the company has invested.

This will not only save cost as the company can transport around 310 vehicles in a wagon instead of 10 in a truck it moves now, but also make the journey to stockyards faster.

Once the service starts, Maruti will become the first car company in India to do so.

This mode of transporting vehicles is used by car companies in Europe and the US.

The services will start from January and the company plans to transport at least 30 per cent of the production through railways in the next four-five years to its stockyards.

“The rail rakes are being manufactured. The design was approved by the Research, Design & Standards Organisation (under the Indian Railways) in Lucknow,” said R.C. Bhargava, Chairman, Maruti Suzuki India.

Freight Charges

These rakes will be dedicated only for the company and also owned by Maruti, he said.

According to industry estimates, only about 5 per cent of the total automobiles movement in the country happens by rail right now, but could jump manifold if such plans are put into place.

Maruti will be moving its cars through the automobile freight train operator (AFTO) policy of the Indian Railways under which firms can invest in specially designed wagons to offer transport services.

They have to pay freight charges to the Railways.

The companies using this mode have to pay Rs 5 crore to get a licence for 20 years, extendable by another 10 years, according to the policy.

“The concern for us is, because of the congestions on the roads, there will be a time when plying of the heavy vehicles (to transport cars) will be difficult,” M.M. Singh, Chief Operating Officer-Production, Maruti, had recently told.

More Stockyards

Bulk transports can also happen through the rails and save time, too.

The company that has two stockyards – in Bangalore and Nagpur– also plans more stockyards in the next few years in places such as Siliguri for the North-East and another one in West Bengal for the eastern markets, he said.

“We are also trying to get a railway line at the Manesar plant (in Haryana) and once we get that, we can just manufacture the cars and put them directly into the wagons, just like Mercedes-Benz does in its Germany factory.

“We don’t have to keep our storage then,” Singh said.

However, all these will be easier and possible once the Goods and Services Tax is implemented, which will take care of all the taxation issues, he added.