In order to understand more about rail freight operations, a team from Mahidol University (MU) visited the Nagoya Freight Terminal and the Aichi Maintenance Depot of Japan Freight Railway Company in Nagoya, Japan, in October 2022. We would like say thank you again to all members of the Japanese rail freight team who arranged this informative visit, especially Mr.Nishimura, Mr. Morishita and Mr. Koumoto.
Japan Freight Railway Company(JRF) is the only one of the JR companies that provides freight transport services on rail tracks throughout the country since the reform of the Japan National railway in 1987. Unlike other JR companies, JRF does not provide passenger services and does not use the high speed rail tracks. JRF is mainly responsible for freight transport services on the conventional railway tracks and the Japanese government is still the owner of JRF. JRF needs timetable slots for their freight transport services throughout the country. These time slots are made available by all of the JR companies and need to be arranged one year ahead.
The JRF company has its own electric locomotives and 60 feet length container wagons for the rail freight transport. As Japan is an Island, there are many sea ports throughout the country. For rail freight operations, all freight needs to be reconfigured as domestic freight before using the rail transport services. The 40 feet international marine containers are not commonly used for rail freight in Japan. Twelve feet containers are the typical size of the railway freight containers used in the country. In most rail freight terminals, including the Nagoya terminal, forklifts are used for the yard operations with no gantry cranes. The fork lift seems to be sufficient for the smaller 12 feet containers in this case.
Unlike the rail freight operations service operated by the State railway of Thailand, JRF is also responsible for the terminal and rail yard operations. JRF is a courier service. However, by joint collaborative work with a logistics partner company or a JRF subsidiary company, the railway transport provides an end-to-end service.