NYK has said it will being shipping cars by rail in India within the next couple of months in a joint venture with Indian state-run Container Corporation of India (Concor) – the largest intermodal logistics provider in the country.
While the company was not willing to discuss further details until the service is in operation, it is understood that Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai vehicles will be shipped 2,000km between Chennai in southern India to New Delhi in the north of the country.
The service was originally scheduled to start in September last year but was delayed due to a shortage of suitable specialist equipment (read more here).
Automotive traffic in India has been constrained by a lack of equipment with many wagons ill-fitted to the different varieties of vehicles. Many of the wagons in use are renovated coach cars designed for Maruti Suzuki 20 years ago; recent trials with double deckers were also designed on behalf of Maruti.
NYK’s joint venture with Concor challenges the low rate of investment in automotive rail solutions in India, which represent a tiny fraction of India Railway’s revenue: 30 crore ($6m) versus 50,000 crore ($10 billion) annually for other freight.
Currently, rail represents fewer than 5% of vehicles distributed in India, particularly low considering the large size of the Indian subcontinent (in North America and Europe the figure is 70% and 30%, respectively).