November 08, 2014: APL Logistics, global specialist in automotive logistics solutions, today announced the start of full operations of AutoLinxSM, its innovative rail-based solution in India. Developed by Delhi-based APL Logistics VASCOR Automotive, a joint venture between APL Logistics and VASCOR, AutoLinxSM successfully completed trial runs in October.
AutoLinxSM was officially launched today at Melpakkam near Chennai with the flag off of its first train service by India's Minister of Railways Shri D. V. Sadananda Gowda. The ceremony was attended by representatives from Indian Railways, local city and government officials, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and rail terminal operators.
"We are delighted to start formal operations of AutoLinxSM and offer India's automotive market specialist solutions to solve their unique supply chain challenges," said Bill Villalon, Global Vertical Leader, Automotive – SVP for APL Logistics and Chairman of the joint venture. "Our customers tell us they value the efficiency, security and reliability that this innovative rail solution offers for the distribution of finished vehicles across India."
"Ford India welcomes the introduction of rail transport for finished vehicle distribution in India by APL Logistics VASCOR Automotive and is excited to be part of this innovative solution. Transition towards multi-modal logistics solutions is key to driving and sustaining the high growth automobile industry in India," said Amlan Bose, Vice President APA Logistics at Ford India. "Ford India congratulates the APL Logistics VASCOR team for their tenacity and hard work in launching this project and wishes them great success in future."
Honda Cars says it is happy the alternative transportation that is taking shape will help reduce the pollution and congestion on the roads.
Carrying approximately 280 finished vehicles, the first train left Melpakkam and is expected to arrive at the multi-modal logistics park of Container Corporation of India at Khatuwas near Delhi next week.
"The launch of AutoLinxSM is a significant milestone for India's automotive sector and APL Logistics VASCOR Automotive. This unique door-to-door service covers the entire supply chain for our customers – from assembly line to distribution center to dealership floor.," said Bill Garrett, CEO of the joint venture as well as President and CEO of VASCOR Ltd. "AutoLinxSM helps OEMs reduce the environmental impact of their supply chains and eases the pressure on India's road infrastructure by moving freight via rail."
AutoLinxSM currently runs fortnightly between Chennai and New Delhi. Service frequency will be increased and more destinations added to the network in the coming months.
Trial runs were conducted in close collaboration with four automotive OEMs: Ford, Honda, Hyundai, and Renault-Nissan. The trials, which began in September, focused on the service corridor between Chennai and Delhi, and involved the handling, movement, and delivery of more than 1100 finished vehicles.
APL Logistics VASCOR Automotive is the first third-party logistics provider to offer rail-based services under the Automobile Freight Train Operator (AFTO) license administered by Indian Railways. With the AFTO licence, logistics service providers can help to facilitate bulk movement of automotive traffic by rail from the production hubs to consumer centres, as well as ports for export.