How Kia Motors is using rail transport to strengthen its supply chain

The Indian Railways, which has been seizing opportunities during these unprecedented times through its continuous innovations, flagged off the 50th rake (train) of the Indian Railways’ new modified goods (NMG) wagons from the Penukonda junction in Andhra Pradesh earlier on October 13, just 12 kilometres from its state-of-the-art 300,000-unit annual capacity manufacturing plant in Anantapur district.

Kia Motors India has been leveraging the same for its vehicle transport logistics operations for its maiden product Seltos and its recently launched compact crossover Sonet.

As per reports by Kia India, Sonet-which has clocked over 35,000 nationwide bookings ahead of festive season will be deployed by using the railways for a sustainable transportation.

While tweeting about the same, Piyush Goyal, Minister of Railways and Minister of Commerce and Industry, Government of India, said, “Indian Railways is attaining new heights in the transportation of automobiles. From Penukonda, Andhra Pradesh alone, 50 rakes containing close to 5,000 cars have been despatched till now.”

Along with the tweet the Minister also tweeted pictures of the virtual flag-off ceremony, showcasing the modified rakes as well as the Kia models being loaded into them for getting transported across India.  

What are NMG Rakes?

The NMG rakes are based upon old passenger wagons which are customised to accommodate cars. The Railways removes all seats and welds the windows and side doors, thus, creating an empty capsule to load cars from the rear end. A single rake or train with up to 27 wagons is able to carry up to 125 cars of all sizes.

Why are automakers leveraging the Railways?

While the vehicle manufacturers across India have been using road transportation for the logistics of their finished products during the pandemic; the limited availability of truck drivers, hurdles in inter state movement along with other factors have made them rethink their logistics and pushed them towards taking a rail route for their logistical operations.

Kia India, along with India’s largest car manufacturer Maruti Suzuki has been full filling its dealers and customers in a much quicker and sustainable manner by using Indian Railways for vehicle logistics.  

Replacing the heavy-duty cargo carrying trucks with railways limits greenhouse gas emissions, increases fuel efficiency and reduces carbon footprint. Maruti Suzuki claims saving close to 100 million litres of diesel and offsetting 3,000MT of CO2 by replacing heavy-duty cargo-carrying trucks with the NMG rakes.

Apart from providing the manufacturers with sustainable movement of the vehicles the Indian Railways’ expansive network that stretches to the farthest corners of the country also provides reliability and is cost-competitive as compared to traditional road transport. By transporting vehicles to far-flung corners of the country using the railways, manufacturers can reduce their logistics costs substantially by as much as 15-40 percent.

Moving forward, as more focus is given to sustainability it is believed that more car makers will shift and adapt to railroad. Also, the continuous innovations and support from Railways will also help railways bolster the automobile logistics.

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