To cut costs, govt set to allow road trains

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NEW DELHI: The government has decided to allow introduction of “road trains” on select routes and between identified points to encourage multi-container transport on the road in its bid to reduce logistics cost. This mode of transporting freight is popular in countries including Australia, United States and in Europe to move huge quantity of cargo.
Road trains consist of a conventional prime mover — truck — pulling two or more trailers. One road train in India can replace at least three trucks and is expected to prove beneficial for movement of freight.
The transport ministry’s draft rule specifying the length, height and width for road trains comes at a time when the Centre is putting more focus on building 2,500 km of greenfield expressways like the Delhi-Mumbai corridor and even state governments are constructing more such roads. The NHAI has also been tasked to take up building “economic corridors” on priority, which would connect major manufacturing hubs.
According to the draft notification, the length of road trains will be 25 metres and there will be a limit of three trailers being pulled by a truck. “This will meet our requirement as we start developing more logistic hubs along the major road corridors. While the road rail can move bulk cargo from one point to other, normal or smaller vehicles can be used to transport cargo from the major logistics hubs to destinations,” said an official. He added that while road trains in other countries are long, the transport ministry has put the limit on length considering Indian traffic conditions even on expressways.
The transport ministry has also proposed changes in the dimensions of other vehicles including buses and small trucks. Considering that smaller or mini-trucks topple in some cases because of faulty height, the ministry has proposed reducing the height to 3 metres from the current 3.8 metres. In another move, the height of double decker and sleeper coach buses would also be increased to 4 metres, which will give more space to the passengers for a comfortable ride.
In its bid to reduce logistics cost, the Centre will introduce road trains on select routes to encourage multi-container transport on the roads. One road train in India can replace at least three trucks and would prove beneficial for movement of freight.

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