Rlys SFTO scheme for goods transportation
ALLAHABAD: Indian Railways has launched a Special Freight Train Operator (SFTO) scheme to facilitate private players to invest in wagons and earn profits through transportation of commodities. Through this scheme, operator would privately own the freight train for transportation of identified commodities.
The objective of this scheme is to increase the share of railways in transportation of non conventional traffic in high capacity and special purpose wagons, thereby increasing commodity base of rail traffic. This will facilitate induction of better design of wagons to increase throughput per train. This policy provides an opportunity to logistics service providers or manufacturers to invest in wagons and use advantages of rail transport to tie up with end users and market in train services owned by them for rail transportation of selected commodity which would be beneficial for railways private players.
In this connection, GD Brahma, executive director of freight marketing in Indian Railways has written letters to chief commercial managers and chief mechanical engineers of all the zonal railways including North Central Railway apprising them about the scheme.
Special Freight Train Operator will operate between private terminals equipped to handle SPW (Special Purpose Wagons) for which SFTO must have a tie-up with such private terminals or own its private terminals/sidings for handling of such trains. The commodities which would be transported through SFTO have been divided into four categories. In the fist category, there are bulk fertilisers, bulk cement and fly ash. In the second category, there are bulk chemicals and petrochemicals (excluding petroleum products like naphtha, aviation turbine fuel, high speed diesel, kerosene oil, petrol, black oil, LPG) and bulk alumina. In the third category are the steel products requiring specially designed wagons and in the last category there are molasses, edible oil and caustic soda.
The SFTO scheme has diverse facets. This included that trains purchased under SFT scheme will not be merged in the wagon pool of Indian Railways. Rakes comprising of such wagons will be identified as exclusively belonging to the SFTO who has procured them. Since the rebate will be applicable on the specific rakes for a specific period, each rake will have separate identification with date of commercial commissioning.
The SFTO will have a tie up with the end-users for marketing and arranging traffic. As far as the Indian Railway’s liability is concerned, the SFTO will be the Consignor and Consignee for the consignment for which Railway receipts will be issued by railway commercial staff posted at the terminal.
The SFTO will develop its own terminal or tie up with private sidings/terminals as per extant rule for loading/unloading of traffic moved in SFT. In case of tie up with other private terminals, the SFTO shall submit a copy of agreement to this effect with the private terminal operator for such movement to the concerned Zonal Railways. Indents for loading in such trains will be placed at the nominated loading point/terminals for the nominated destination point.
The rakes may be used by IR for traffic offered by customers other than the SFTO subject to a prior mutual written agreement between IR and such SFTO. To ensure a level plying field, IR shall move the trains of SFTO on the basis of “first come first served principle” without giving any undue preference to any particular operators.
However, railway administration would also make all efforts to ensure minimum enroute detention to the SFTO trains and strive to achieve the average speed of freight trains in respect of transit time of SFTO’s trains.
Freight Operation Information System (FOIS) of Indian Railways shall also cater to the requirements of the operator for an integrated management and operations information service and the operator shall provide all relevant data as required by FOIS and shall be given `read only’ access to this system on payment of reasonable cost.
The operator would charge his customers for rail haulage, terminal handling, ground rent on a market determined basis and railways shall not exercise any control over such pricing.
There would be no demurrage charges by the Railways, but the Railways shall levy stapling charges as per the rates notified from time to time in case rolling stock belonging to the operator is stabled on account of the SFTO on Indian Railways network.