The tagline is “National Lifeline,” and Lord Dalhousie is known as the “Father of Indian Railways.”Indian Railway is a government-owned corporation that runs one of the world’s largest and busiest rail networks, delivering both passengers and commodities. In 1966, the first containerized freight service was established between Bombay and Ahmedabad, and other suburban tracks in the Delhi, Madras, and Calcutta areas were electrified.

The introduction of semi-high-speed freight trains, known as “Gati Shakti,” in 2022 was the most significant change in Indian railway history. The 16-coach ‘Gati Shakti’ train would travel at 160 kmph in a replica of the Vande Bharat train. 

The railways intend to target the e-commerce and courier parcel segments with these trains. Each train will have refrigerated wagons at the back. Milk, fish, fruit, and vegetables are carried in front. The coach will provide an electrical connection for these vehicles. The container will be moved using the coach rollers. Each coach will have two large doors for loading and unloading the containers.

India is the world’s ninth-largest e-commerce market. According to Indian Railways, which wants to capture small parcel shipments by operating specialized high-speed freight trains, India’s e-commerce market is expected to reach its peak by 2024. The Indian Railways aims to increase its freight transportation share from 27 per cent to 45 per cent by 2030 through improved infrastructure and commercial development strategies, according to the National Rail Plan. The Gati-Shakti Multi-Model Cargo Terminal program, which was established in 2021 to boost investment in additional rail cargo terminals, has resulted in the construction of 74 new Gati-Shakti Multi-Modal Cargo Terminals (GCTs) across the country, with 20 of them located in South Indian states.

“High-speed rail freight services in India would revolutionise interstate travel and would also be an economic game-changer for dozens of regional communities along its path.”

What are the benefits of high-speed freight trains? As an alternative to flying, high-speed rail reduces traffic congestion. Using other modes of transportation will reduce traffic congestion on the roads. On the road, there are no surprises for drivers that could force you to lose control of your vehicle. Rail is a more secure mode of transportation. There are no abrupt turns or shifts, and no other stressful or dangerous situations. Rail is a safe mode of transportation that also benefits energy and national security, offers a light freight alternative, reduces carbon emissions, and increases the market for more affordable housing. 

Focus on e-commerce (logistics); prospects for the future

E-commerce and courier deliveries are served by these trains. According to the IBEF Brand Equity Foundation, an ICF (International Classification of Functioning) authority, e-commerce and courier packages constitute the largest e-commerce market. In 2020, the company expects to generate $50 billion in revenue. The railways intend to catch small package shipments by operating specialized high-speed freight trains. Rail Freight Services trains have more area on board for e-commerce and courier goods, according to current trends. Trains may make even more varied appearances in the future! The internal space of future trains may be altered using technology. Industry bodies such as the Confederation of Indian Industries applauded Gati Shakti’s launch. “The plan is laser-like in its transformation of India’s infrastructure and is likely to provide tremendous momentum for national growth.”

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