Tadipatri (Andhra Pradesh), Jan 23 (IANS) For the first time, bananas have been transported by train in freezer containers from Tadipatri station in Guntakal division of the South Central Railway (SCR) zone to Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) in Mumbai for onward export to Middle Eastern countries.
"For the first time, bananas' loading has commenced from Tadipatri station as a total of 43 reefer containers were loaded from the nearby cold storage units and warehouses for transporting by rail," said a railway zone official.
Shipping bananas via railways comes as a major relief for horticultural hubs in Anantapur and Kadapa districts, where farmers generally prefer road transportation and suffer losses en route, considering their shipments go as far as the Middle Eastern countries.
Likewise, places such as Pulivendula, Tadipatri and their surrounding areas are famous for cultivation of good quality bananas and internationally renowned.
"To mitigate this problem and to assist the farmers with hassle-free transport facility, SCR in coordination with the Container Corporation of India (CONCOR) has come up with the solution of reefer container transportation," said the official.
She said that transportation of bananas through refrigerated containers through the railways provides faster freight transportation facility to customers.
"Further, it drastically reduces en route damage and the quality of the product will be maintained till it reaches its destination. In addition, the same containers can be shipped further for exporting to other countries," the official observed.
To handle freight at Tadipatri, CONCOR has set up full fledged facilities such as reach stacker for container handling, reefer plug points, genset mounted trailers, diesel generator sets and other equipment.
Each train is also equipped with two power packs to provide uninterrupted power supply to the reefer containers during transit.
The first reefer container rake with 43 refrigerated containers has been loaded with 977 tonnes of bananas and dispatched from Tadipatri to JNPT on Friday for onward export to Middle Eastern countries.
Incidentally, freight customers evinced good interest in the new initiative and facilities while CONCOR and the business development unit established at Guntakal division played a key role in conducting extensive meetings with the local merchants, traders and cargo operators to capture traffic.
SCR railway zone general manager Gajanan Mallya appealed to all the traders, merchants and rail users to utilise the reefer container facility to transport perishable consignments by rail.