The Minister of Railways Shri Pawan Kumar Bansal inaugurated the 13th National seminar on the theme “Transforming Railways’ Role from Transporter to Logistics Provider” organised by Centre for Transportation Research & Management (CTRAM) here today. Vinay Mittal, Chairman, Railway Board & Shri K.K. Srivastava, Member Traffic and President CTRAM were also present on the occasion. Speaking on this occasion, the Railway Minister Shri Pawan Kumar Bansal said that Indian Railways are already playing a vital role in meeting demands of the Indian Industry and Business. As a major transporter of bulk commodities like coal, iron ore, fertilizer, cement, food grains, iron and steel, POL and raw materials to steel plans, Railways are meeting the transport demands of the core sectors of economy as well as of farming and agriculture sectors. The Minister said that Indian Railways has entered the ‘Select Billion Tonne’ club in freight movement that was hitherto the exclusive privilege of only three countries, USA, Russia and China. Indian Railways will have to continue to increase transportation capacities in view of the increasing demands of the growing economy.
Shri Bansal pointed out that apart from being the largest transporter of goods and passengers, Indian Railways have been playing a major role in national integration. He said that Railways play a big role in the more equitable development of regions by linking them to sources of supply of raw material and to the extended national markets for their produce. Thus Indian Railways have been playing an unparalleled role in creating opportunities and fostering development, the Minister added. Emphasizing the importance of supply chain, the Railway Minister said that there is a need to integrate various transportation players for achieving the optimum results. He said that warehousing, transshipment terminals, inter-modal interface and last mile transportation from rail head have all to be brought together. Shri Bansal said that it is necessary to mobilize more private sector investment and railway needs to address concerns of all private entrepreneurs with an open mind so as to attract private investment for infrastructure projects. The Minister said that port connectivity models and private freight terminal policies and other PPP Policies of railways have yielded good results and railways will have to continue efforts in the same manner in some other areas which require investments. The Minister said that during the last few decades, there has been a paradigm shift in the way goods are produced, transported and distributed. Indian Railways also faced the same paradigm shift. For meeting the burgeoning growth of freight traffic, railways had to move away from wagon load traffic to rake load traffic. The Minister said that Indian Railways will have to gear up its strategy so as to keep pace with the changing times. The Minister however said that along with laying emphasis on transporting bulk core commodity, the Indian Railways should not ignore traditional parcel and postal traffic and containerized traffic. Railway Minister Shri Bansal hoped that the National Seminar will address and debate all issues pertaining to transportation and logistics and come up with fruitful suggestions for implementation. In his key note address, Chairman Railway Board Shri Vinay Mittal said that with the massive rail infrastructure and the huge fleet of rolling stock at our command, that is far more energy efficient than the road, we have to undertake the role of service integrators for reaching the customers’ door step and re-define our reach through enabling IT infrastructure to be responsive to ‘click-a-mouse’ solutions and enquiries expected by the customers from a ‘one-stop-shop’. Calling upon the Railway officers to put in their best, Shri Mittal said that as the future lies in their hands, they will have to re-engineer their expertise, become more market focused and develop the confidence to assert the innate strength of Railways so as to attract the best in the business as long term logistics partners for providing comprehensive solutions. Shri Mittal said that with Railways now spearheading the formation of a ‘Logistics Corporation’, we have the necessary legislations in place. Such corporations and policies however do not exist and survive in isolation. They need the systems spread across the length and breadth of the country to be in sync for seamless services and maintaining efficacy of logistics. Shri Mittal hoped that adequate synergy will be generated in the seminar along with a host of useful ideas to pave the way for meeting the challenges of the future. Speaking on the occasion, Member Traffic (Railway Board) and President CTRAM Shri K.K. Srivastava said that Indian transport and logistics services industry is witnessing major transformation, closely following the developments all over the world. Increasing thrust towards containerization, coupled with constant technological up gradations, increasing globalization of market economies and the growing intensity of completion has propelled a switch for the users of Logistics and Transportation services who now seek “Integrated logistics transport solutions” as against inpidual “transportation and distribution” services. The buzzword today is “Supply Chain management” with the logistics provider being an integral part of the total value chain. Shri Srivastava said that in the recent past, IR has taken some salient steps towards enhancing its role in the logistics field like setting up of rail side warehouses, opening up of container train operations to private players, setting up of private freight terminals, special freight train operators etc. Shri Srivastava emphasized that with the various strategies and initiatives taken recently by IR, it is expected that entrepreneurs, distribution and supply chain industry will join hands with IR to support the development of the logistics industry. This will be a win-win game for all players. Railways will increase its share, industry will become more competitive, and new enterprises will create new businesses and generate employment opportunities. The one day seminar consisted of five sessions namely inaugural session, technical session on bulk session, technical session on manufactured finished goods, technical session on express CARGO, parcels, courier services and concluding session. Shri D.P. Pande, Addl. Member Traffic, Railway Board and Vice President CTRAM proposed the vote of thanks and chaired the concluding session. A number of delegates participated in the Conference.