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APL to spend $60m to expand Indian rail infrastructure

APL to spend $60m to expand Indian rail infrastructure

Mumbai: Neptune Orient Lines' container subsidiary APL has announced that it is to spend up to $60m in conjunction with its Indian partner, Hindustan Infrastructure Projects & Engineering, to expand rail freight services in India. APL owns a 76% stake in the joint venture which was started just six weeks ago.

Kenneth Glenn (pictured), APL's president in charge of south Asia said that the company will invest in additional rail-cargo carriages, inland-container depots and related facilities. The additional infrastructure will allow the venture to run 11 round trips per week between several north Indian inland container depots and the ports, Glenn added.

Although India is the world's second-fastest growing major economy, inadequate or deteriorating road and tail infrastructure means that shipping companies face logistical nightmares when transporting goods inland. "Currently, inadequate infrastructure and high costs are hurting India's development as an exporter to the rest of the world," Glen had said when addressing the Southern Asia Ports, Logistics and Shipping conference in Mumbai last September.

He added that although about 25% of world container ship capacity will be comprised of vessels of at least 6,000teu by late 2008, India does not yet have a port that can handle this class of ship. "Until India can develop these type of global class facilities, it will not fulfil its cargo carrying potential. When India's ports are assessed against the attributes of a world-class port, they do not stack up well, lacking many of the characteristics international ship operators look for in order to increase vessel calls."  [17/07/07]