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Indian Railways pulls freight traffic ahead of last year’s level inspite of COVID 19 related challenges



Indian Railways pulls freight traffic ahead of last year’s level inspite of COVID 19 related challenges. Image: Flickr/ Smeet Chowdhury
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On mission mode, Indian Railways achieved a significant milestone of pulling freight traffic ahead of last year’s level inspite of COVID 19 related challenges. The freight loading was 3.13 MT which is higher than last year for the same date.

It may be noted that Hon’ble Prime Minister had emphasized upon achievement of long term and far reaching goals during the lockdown. Accordingly, Railways has completed nearly 200 infrastructure works in this period. Now Railways has achieved a milestone in freight transportation also.

The average speed of Freight Trains on 27 July 2020 was 46.16 kmph which is more than double as compare to last year for the same date (22.52 kmph). In the month of July the average speed of freight trains is 45.03 kmph which is around double as compare to last year for the same month (23.22 kmph). West Central Railway with the average speed of 54.23 kmph, Northeast Frontier Railway with the speed of 51 kmph, East Central Railway 50.24 kmph, East Cost Railway 41.78 kmph, South East Central Railway 42.83 kmph, South Eastern Railway 43.24 kmph and Western Railway with the speed of 44.4 kmph are the leading Railway Zones in the average speed of freight train in Indian Railways.

On 27 July 2020 the total freight loading was 3.13 million tonnes which is higher than last year for the same date. On 27 July 2020 total 1039 no. of rakes loaded with freight in Indian Railways which includes 76 rakes of foodgrain, 67 rakes of fertilizer, 49 rakes of steel, 113 rakes of cement, 113 rakes of iron ore and 363 rakes of coal.

It may be noted that these improvements in freight movements will be institutionalized and incorporated in the upcoming zero based time table. These steps will lead to significantly higher freight traffic and earnings for Railways and cost competitive logistics for the entire country.

It is worth mentioning that a number of concessions/ discounts are also being given in Indian Railways to make Railways Freight movement very attractive.

Covid 19 has been used by Railways an opportunity to improve all round efficiencies and performances.

Container Terminal

Eco-friendly intermodal solution connects Spain, UK and Ireland



Eco-friendly intermodal solution connects Spain, UK and Ireland. Image: APM Terminals
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Together with Containerships (CMA-CGM group), APM Terminals Gijon has formed an eco-friendly logistic chain connecting major Spanish cities to the UK and Ireland. The solution uses block trains, LNG vessels and bio-fuel trucks for unbeatable eco-friendly credentials.

Block trains connect APM Terminals Gijon with Seville, Murcia, Valencia, Barcelona, Zaragoza, Madrid and Burgos up to twice a week. Scheduled to arrive at APM Terminals Gijon in time for a Friday departure, the vessel will arrive in Liverpool, UK on Monday and Dublin, Ireland on Tuesday. The service is suitable for all types of containerized cargo, including hazardous cargo.

Located on Spain’s northern coast, APM Terminals Gijon is ideally placed for the UK. “In addition to the clear environmental benefits offered by this service, customers can also cut the time to UK and Irish markets from Spain, compared to shipments made from other Spanish ports,” says Terminal Manager, Miguel Ruiz.

Each block train has a 52 TEU capacity and the potential to remove up to 26 trucks from the road. As well as reducing traffic congestion, the diesel locomotives used for this block train service are, according to statistics published by the Association of American Railroads, estimated to be three to four times more fuel efficient than diesel trucks and lower greenhouse gas emissions by up to 75% compared to trucks.

APM Terminals Gijon is equipped with a 450m on dock track for fast and efficient loading and a separate rail yard with two 350m tracks for optimum flexibility. In the future, the service has the capacity to scale up to a daily service for the cities currently served.

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Rail Freight

GB Railfreight and Drax extend rail contract to transport biomass until 2025



GB Railfreight and Drax extend rail contract to transport biomass until 2025. Image: GB Railfreight
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GB Railfreight and Drax have agreed to extend their contract to transport supplies of sustainable biomass from UK ports to Drax Power Station in North Yorkshire until 2025.

Teams at GBRf have worked closely with Drax for the past decade to maintain the supplies of sustainable biomass needed for the UK’s largest power station to continue generating the flexible and reliable renewable power for millions of UK homes and businesses. This deal is critical to Drax’s global biomass supply chain and another step on its journey to negative emissions.

Drax supplies 11% of the UK’s renewable electricity. Using sustainable biomass instead of coal at Drax Power Station has reduced emissions by more than 80% and helped the UK power system decarbonise faster than any other country in Europe.

Under the terms of the contract, GBRf will run all of Drax tonnage from the Ports of Tyne and Liverpool to Drax Power Station.

The partnership between GBRf and Drax dates back to 2010 when GBRf began moving biomass by rail from the Port of Tyne. Originally, GBRf used wagons that had been converted from coal hoppers by adding lids and these remain in use under the new contract. As Drax converted more of its coal units at the power station to sustainable biomass, Drax invested in new purpose-built biomass wagons that are larger and therefore more efficient at carrying the pellets.

In the past year, the longstanding relationship between Drax and GBRf has helped overcome challenges such as the local floods in February to the Drax branch line and then the Covid-19 crisis, ensuring continuous flows of biomass that helped keep the power station running and the lights on in Britain.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:

“I am delighted to be continuing GB Railfreight’s ongoing partnership with Drax. We will continue to deliver vital supplies of sustainable biomass for a further five years, ensuring power is generated in a clean and sustainable way as well as reducing the UK’s carbon emissions.

“The announcement also comes at a time of great economic uncertainty for our country. We at GBRf remain committed to getting the UK economy back on track and having worked with Drax over the last few months during testing times I know we will continue to work closely in the months and years to come as we emerge from the COVID-19 crisis.”

Mike Maudsley, UK Portfolio Generation Director at Drax said:

“GBRf’s rail deliveries are a critical part of our global supply chain for sustainable biomass that supports thousands of jobs and has delivered economic growth across the north of England, while supplying renewable electricity to millions of homes and businesses.

“We’re very pleased to extend our existing contract with GBRf for another five years and we’re looking forward to continuing to work with the team.”

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Rail Freight

Rail freight transport: pilot project launched to test automatic rail coupling



Rail freight transport: pilot project launched to test automatic rail coupling. Image: Deutsche Bahn AG
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A consortium headed by Deutsche Bahn is now trialing the use of digital automatic coupling on freight cars. The German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure awarded the contract for this pilot project to the consortium of six companies from Germany, Austria, Switzerland and France. The project, aimed at demonstrating, testing and obtaining regulatory approval for digital automatic coupling  in rail freight transport, will run from July 2020 to December 2022.

Digital automatic coupling automatically connects freight cars, as well as their lines for power, data and compressed air, without any need for strenuous physical work. Most freight trains are still currently coupled by hand using buffer-and-chain couplers; DAC makes this process much more efficient and relieves strain on rail workers.

The consortium is made up of DB, its subsidiary DB Cargo, and five other companies: the Swiss and Austrian rail freight companies SBB Cargo and Rail Cargo Austria, along with wagon keepers Ermewa, GATX Rail Europe and VTG.

“It wouldn’t make sense to manage the EU-wide introduction of DAC from the Member State level alone,” said Enak Ferlemann, Parliamentary State Secretary at the German Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure. “We need to find solutions at the European level. The financial challenges involved are considerable, and they are not the kind of thing that companies alone can solve; we will need a comprehensive European program with sufficient funding. The German Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure will continue to support the introduction of DAC, and we have commissioned the DAC demonstrator project to this end. We will be providing some EUR 13 million in funding for this research project over the coming two-and-a-half years.”

Sabina Jeschke, Member of the Management Board for Digitalization and Technology: “We are delighted that we can implement this project together with our strong partners in the consortium. When the digital automatic coupling is introduced throughout Europe, it will be a revolution for freight transport by rail — and an enormous relief for employees.”

In the first phase, 12 freight and tank cars from DB Cargo, VTG and GATX will be equipped with prototype couplers from four different manufacturers. Then the initial technical tests will begin. The results of these tests will determine which type of coupler is ultimately selected. In the second phase, a demonstrator train consisting of 24 freight cars equipped with the selected coupler type will run in Germany, Switzerland, Austria and other European countries. This will allow DAC to be tested in daily operations in a variety of areas, including at marshaling yards.

The goal is to prepare the process of selecting one type of coupler to introduce throughout Europe. DAC will open the door to a system of rail freight transport that is fully automated and digitalized. A coordinated approach within Europe will be key to achieving full-scale implementation of the technology.

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