Chalakudi (CKI): The Railways has grounded the operations of its first private cargo special train — the Parcel Cargo Express — flagged off from Chalakkudy in October last year, after transporting companies backed out citing huge losses caused by poor logistics.
The cargo train bound to Moga in Ludhiyana from Chalakkudy, carrying rubber, spices and coir products from the state, had a run-time of four days and was marketed as cheaper-than-road alternative, but took 8 to 11 days to reach the destination. A road trip would have taken 7 days, sources said.
Transporting companies that entered into a contract with the Central Rail-side Ware Housing Corporation (CRWC) allege that the service was torpedoed by some senior Railway officials for the benefit of truck transporters.
Two companies, Delhi-based AVG Logistics and Beta Global Logistics, which partnered with CRWC stopped supplying consignments to the train in February.
Thomas Varghese, Marketing Manager, Delhi-based AVG Logistics, said the train used to be detained at various stations citing technical reasons. The company claims that it incurred a loss of Rs 3.5 crore due to consignment delays.
Sources in the Railways said truckers from North India had sustained severe losses after the train was launched. The trucks which arrive here used to return with consignments, but their business suffered with the introduction of new service. The train was delayed by senior officials, allegedly, after the truck lobby exerted pressure. The Railways has now initiated steps to forfeit Rs 1.23 crore deposited by the CRWC. Speaking to Express, senior officials attached to the CRWC in Kerala, said they incurred a loss of Rs 4 crore. Officials of the Commercial Division, Railway, denied the allegations and said the real issue was the conflict between the CWRC and logistic companies. Rajesh Chandran, Area Manager, Ernakulam, told Express that the Chennai Division is exploring the feasibility of starting the services from Kalamassery in Ernakulam. “We have informed our readiness to start the service from here,” he said.