PSA International has resumed direct rail connectivity between its operation at the Port of Chennai and the manufacturing centre of Hyderabad as PSA India reached record levels of rail demand and utilisation.
In a statement, PSA said a rake carrying 32 containers left Hyderabad destined for Chennai, where they will be placed on the Ocean Network Express (ONE) vessel, the Xin Pu Dong.
It was the first time in three years that the two cities had been directly connected by rail for freight purposes.
A further 90 empty containers also belonging to ONE departed PSA Mumbai’s railyard for Container Corporation of India’s (CONCOR) ICD at Hyderabad on 8 May 2020. PSA said this was done to “support exporters”.
India has suffered considerable container congestion at its ports and hinterland as the backlog from China, delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, arrived.
This added to the pressure the country’s ports were already under after many containers arrived from China at the peak of the crisis without the necessary documentation and were therefore held at the ports.
Mike Formoso, PSA India Managing Director, said, “Rail has played an essential role in ensuring freight continues to move nationwide, especially given the shortage of trucks and staff.
“By playing our part together with other stakeholders, we aim for higher levels of rail utilisation as the norm, not an exception, under these unprecedented circumstances.
“Beyond the very welcome concessions from Indian Railways, CONCOR and other container train operators, as well as new solutions such as Extension Gate, we hope for a major structural review in the pricing of rail container haulage, to encourage a more permanent modal shift.”