The 1st Flexi deck auto-wagon rake consisting of 27 wagons chugged off to Nidavanda, Bangalore from Gurgaon carrying a mixed load of Maruti Suzuki cars including Swift, Dzire, Alto, Wagon R and Omni.
Maruti Suzuki is India’s first automobile company to procure flexi deck auto-wagon rakes. Maruti Suzuki has initially procured three such rakes of 27 wagons each. These rakes will be primarily deployed in the high-volume West and South India destinations. In the long term, the company will dispatch cars through railways to several destinations like Nagpur, Siliguri, Mumbai, Pune, Mundra, Kolkata etc. In the coming times Maruti Suzuki will order more rakes to meet its growing transportation requirement.
On the occasion of the flag off, Mr. Kenichi Ayukawa, Managing Director and CEO, Maruti Suzuki said, “We are delighted to have initiated this contemporary mode of transport to the Indian automobile industry. Indian Railways deserves all the credit for their foresight and tremendous enthusiasm and co-operation to make this initiative move from a concept to reality within a short span of around 36 months.”
On the occasion Mr. M.M. Singh, Chief Operating Officer (Production), Maruti Suzuki said, ““The induction of ‘flexi deck auto-wagon rake’ will start a new chapter in automotive logistics in the country. Trains are one of the fastest, safest and eco-friendly modes of transportation. With these newly designed rakes we have been able to increase the load carrying capacity along with a high flexibility to cater to a variety of vehicle dimensions. We are happy that Indian Railways supported the initiative of Maruti Suzuki to enhance the country’s transportation infrastructure.”
To streamline the railways transportation, Maruti Suzuki will develop infrastructure at the off-loading destinations. Initially, Maruti Suzuki has developed a railway station at Nidavanda, near Bangalore. The Nidavanda station has a capacity to handle nearly 300 vehicles presently. As Maruti Suzuki has big volumes for South India destinations, Bangalore will be used as a feeder point for dealer network.
With the ‘Flexi deck auto-wagon rake’ in place the Indian Railways and Maruti Suzuki will jointly relieve the road infrastructure of the excessive load and bring modern, high capacity vehicle transportation to the country’s logistics map.
Interestingly, the Maruti Suzuki has been using rail transportation mode for over two decades. In 2008 Maruti Suzuki joined hands with Indian railways and developed double-deck container trains to enhance the load carrying capacity. These continue to be used by Maruti Suzuki mainly for the export vehicles from its’ manufacturing plants in Haryana to Mundra port.
While the dispatch through railways increased from 2 per cent in 2007-08 to over 5 per cent in 2012-13, with the commissioning of the Flexi Deck Auto-Wagon rakes, the Company is confident rail transportation would substantially increase in the future.