In another step created for generating additional revenue, Delhi Metro started ferrying cargo services on its premium Airport Express Line that connects Dwarka Sector 21, along with Indira Gandhi International Airport (Terminal T-3) to New Delhi Railway Station from March 1, 2016, for the first time ever.

“The service, will be experimental for three months and if it gets a successful response, a tender for a long-term arrangement shall be floated.” Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) officials said. It has termed this decision as a historic one. The cargo agency will utilise the Airport Express Line for transporting cargo between the New Delhi and IGI Airport Metro stations.

Only non-perishable and merchandise of e-commerce sites will be transported, for the purpose of which DMRC has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a specialised cargo agency. Prohibited items as per statutory rules or as notified by DMRC from time to time shall not be allowed and the cargo will be transferred after the necessary security checks.

This would be the first-ever occasion, when a Metro system in India would be used for the transportation of cargo. These trials would help in accessing the cargo volumes that could potentially be generated on this route on both directions, especially e-commerce cargo. Also, the initiative may also lead to the reduction in cargo vehicles on the streets of the city and subsequently lesser consumption of fossil fuels and lower carbon dioxide emission thus contributing towards an improved air quality.

As per an earlier announcement, Delhi Metro stations will double up as terminals for e-commerce sites, with customers being given the option of getting products delivered at select stations so they can collect them at their convenience. Unlike the other trains, that runs at an average speed of around 40 km/hr, the  trains on the Airport Express runs at a speed of 90 km/hr and takes 19 minutes to cover the distance between New Delhi and Airport, while it takes 24 minutes to cover the entire line.

As trains on the 23-km corridor already have dedicated coaches for luggage, the introduction of the cargo services will not cause any inconvenience to the general commuters. The Airport Express is India’s only dedicated high speed Metro connection between the city and the airport. It is suited for the transportation of cargo, since there is a separate coach for luggage. The services are available all through the day and night, from 5:00 am to 11:30 pm.