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New Delhi : Union Ports, Shipping and Waterways Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, on September 20, 2021, virtually flagged-off the Dwarf Container Train Service from Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), Maharashtra. With this, the first consignment of laden Dwarf containers from Dwarf container depot (DCD) at the port was moved by train to ICD Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh.

The port is set to gain steadily from the implementation the Dwarf container train services from JNPT as the rail movement of EXIM cargo through double stacked dwarf containers would offer competitive cost advantage to the EXIM community resulting in an increase in port cargo traffic via rail route. The ‘Dwarf Containers are lesser in height by 660 mm than normal ISO containers giving them a logistical edge. The Low height of dwarf container loaded on trailers can pass through rural, semi urban, and urban roads through limited height subways and level crossing in electrified sections, according to a PIB release.

Furthermore, the Dwarf Containers provide a 67% increase in volume when double-stacked and can carry a weight of 71 tons against 40 tons by an ISO container. In addition, Indian Railways has offered 17% discount on haulage cost compared to double stack ISO container trains resulting in an overall 33% discount to shippers making Indian Railways competitive. Thus the rail movement of cargo through Dwarf containers has the potential to lower the EXIM logistics costs making Indian exports globally competitive

Speaking at the inaugural event, Sonowal said, ” The commencement of Dwarf container train services from JNPT is a pivotal step towards streamlining the rail movement of EXIM cargo via double-stacked Dwarf containers.” He said this will give the EXIM community a competitive cost advantage by lowering hinterland logistical costs, while simultaneously enhancing rail-cargo traffic at JNPT. Sonowal added that Dwarf containers are port-friendly and can be manufactured in India at a cost-efficient price point thereby opening-up opportunities for Make in India.

The move will result in more competitive exports and enhance export from India. A robust logistics sector can go a long way in boosting India’s quest for being a manufacturing giant and promote ‘Make in India’. This will also help JNPT in increasing throughput, reduce congestions at gate and road; increase direct port delivery (DPD) which will further reduce cost of logistics for shippers, and also improve turnaround time of shipping line containers, and address container shortage issues.

In line with this, a location within the JNPT container terminal has been identified for the establishment of Dwarf Container Depot, where cargo transfer from ISO containers to dwarf containers would be carried out making availability of empty ISO containers at the Port itself for export repositioning. At present, the trade is facing shortage of ISO containers for exports and this initiative can be a game changer as the turnaround time of containers will come down from month to few days as the import laden ISO containers need not go all the way to the Hinterland. The cargo will be emptied and shifted to dwarf containers and the empty ISO containers would be readily available to the nearby CFS/factory for export stuffing. The commencement of the dwarf container train services from JNPT will further diversify the Port’s interlinked logistical trade avenues.