Creative ideas in Rail movement: Initiatives taken by the Cement Industry

December 21, 2021


The Indian logistics scenario is constantly evolving. As the number of companies engaged in logistics increase and the volumes moved show a constant growth, there is an increasing transition with infrastructure readiness and technology being the key drivers for growth. The Indian logistics market is currently valued at USD 215 billion and is growing at a Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 10.5%.1 The Indian Railways has also taken a number of necessary interventions in this direction, such as the introduction of an online interface for freight customers, Terminal Management System (TMS), electronic registration of demand and electronic payment system. These have enhanced the Ease of Doing Business (EoDB).2

To fast track collaborative growth, the Cement Industry is constantly innovating and working in alignment with the Railways through high impact initiatives creating win-win solutions for all the stakeholders involved and driving economic development.

Initiatives taken by the Cement Industry

A number of innovative measures have been taken by the Cement Industry in the recent years to enhance the user experience for its stakeholders. A few of them are as follows:

  1. Electric mobile conveyor:

    A CMA Member Company has introduced technological intervention and innovation by developing a movable electric conveyor belt to help in faster loading and unloading of cement bags at the goods sheds. One end of the conveyor is deployed at the unloading point in the wagon and the other end moves across the platform till the loading point on the truck. This helps in faster unloading. The Member Company has previously undertaken trials at the Surat goods shed in Gujarat. The belt offers a number of advantages and is a win-win for both the Indian Railways and the Cement Industry

    Prerequisites for the conveyor:
    1. Clear space on the platform for stationing the mobile conveyor belt
    2. Reliable source of electricity for powering the belt
    Benefits offered for stakeholders:
    1. The belt allows for faster evacuation and helps in faster turnaround of railway rakes. This offers more opportunity to the Railways as the rakes could be put to other uses quickly
    2. It helps in reducing dust pollution and damage to the bags caused due to manual loading
    3. It eases the effort of the labour as they do not have to carry the cement bags manually
  2. Door to door shipping service for transporting containerised cement:

    A CMA Member Company is working closely with the South Central Railways and Container Corporation of India (CONCOR) and offering door to door shipping service for containerised cement movement by rail. The first rake was flagged off for transporting cement from Jaggayyapet in Andhra Pradesh to Shalimar in West Bengal.

    Benefits offered for stakeholders:
    1. The establishment of a container handling terminal at Jaggayyapet will help boost container traffic to the Indian Railways
    2. Such movement helps eliminate multiple handling of the commodities driving energy efficiency
    3. It is a one stop solution for all the stakeholders and will help reduce any enroute pilferages/damages while promoting conservation of resources3
  3. Setting up of bulk terminals:

    A CMA Member Company is actively innovating and has set up 7 bulk terminals across the Country, the latest being a 1.2 million tonne per annum terminal at Kalamboli, Navi Mumbai. Bulk cement will be moved in bulk rakes from the Company’s manufacturing units located at Solapur in Maharashtra and Malkhed in Karnataka to the Kalamboli terminal at Navi Mumbai.

    Benefits offered for stakeholders:
    1. It will help increase bulk cement traffic being moved on Indian Railways
    2. It will help reduce carbon emissions and drive sustainable growth leading to environmental conservation4
In conclusion

As the Indian Railways and the Cement Industry take necessary measures and innovate to boost cement loading on rail, it is important that necessary operational and policy changes are continued to ensure that momentum is not lost. Successful introduction of innovative interventions will be a win-win for all the stakeholders, which will promote energy efficiency, environmental conservation and also lead to conservation of resources.

  1. 10.5%: India’s Logistics Sector Poised For Growth And Innovation Amidst Pandemic,, Business World, July 22, 2021, accessed December 21, 2021
  2. (EoDB): Important Policy Measures for Freight Customers,, Railway Board, accessed December 21, 2021
  3. Resources: CONCOR & SCR Offer KCP Cement Door-to-Door Containerized Shipping by Rail,,, March 31, 2021, accessed December 21, 2021/
  4. Conservation: UltraTech Cement Ltd commences operations of bulk terminal at Kalamboli, Navi Mumbai,, The Hans India, December 17, 2021, accessed December 21, 2021