Railways To Fine Clients For Delay In Freeing Trains As Rake Demand Goes Up


The Railways have decided to fine its freight clients for excessive delay in loading and unloading their goods as it wants more rakes to be available for moving essential items across the country during the lockdown period.

As the lockdown was announced Indian Railways had earlier waived off the two types of charges for such delays — Demurrage and Wharfage — for the duration of the lockdown.

Demurrage is levied on freight clients for detention of any rolling stock after the expiry of free time, while Wharfage is for not removing goods from railway premises after the expiry of the free time.

Pointing out the downside of these concessions, the Railway sources say that with the deferment of these charges, clients are in no hurry to unload because they don’t lose money, unlike in normal times. So Railways have no other choice but to levy these charges on them if they do not clear the rakes on time.

According to available data, cement and steel customers are major offenders, with delays in both loading and unloading remaining an issue during the lockdown period either owing to the non-availability of labour or the dip in demand for these items due to the pandemic.

As per an order from Railway Board issued on Saturday, It has been decided that in cases where “undue delay” in loading or unloading at particular goods sheds is causing interruption in further loading and movement, the relevant authority are permitted to lift the force majeure condition, and instead give the client 18 hours to load or unload their goods, after which they will be charged as earlier.

However, the order says that the defaulters would be given a 24-hour notice before they are charged. Because of the slow unloading, goods trains carrying foodgrains and other such essentials are taking about six days to return to their bases, to be reloaded again, which is affecting the smooth movement of products across the country.