Indian Railways Achieves Remarkable Turnaround In Freight Sector, Posts 13.54% Growth In Revenue

Despite coronavirus related-challenges, the Railways has made a remarkable turnaround of 13.54 per cent in its freight revenue earnings in September this year as compared to the same period last year, an indication of Indian economy on the recovery path.

In September, the Railways earned Rs 9,896.86 cr from freight loading which is Rs 1180.57 cr higher compared to last year’s Rs 8176.29 cr earnings for the corresponding period, an increase of 13.54 per cent.

“In spite of these challenging times, Indian Railways has taken many initiatives for business development and a lot of initiatives were taken to boost freight loading and the result has come in the month of September,” Railway Board Chairman VK Yadav said in a virtual presser here.

Braving the Covid-19 pandemic, railways continued with the freight service while curtailing the passenger trains to a great extent.

Freight loading increased to 102.12 million tonnes (MT) in September this year from 88.53 MT in the same month last year, a jump of 15.35 per cent.

“It clearly indicates that Indian economy is recovering and the economic activities are really improving,” Yadav said.

Asked whether railways would meet the budgeted target in the goods segment in the current fiscal, he said freight loading is going up and it would be more than the last year.

Loading would be more than 1200 MT this time and there is no doubt about it, Yadav added.

It is the first time that the Indian Railways in the month of September particularly, has surpassed the mark of 100 million tonne loading.

Talking of possible future growth, Yadav said the draft of National Rail Plan is ready now and the final Plan is expected to be published soon.

According to the preliminary plan, the freight loading will be around 2,400 MT by 2024 and by 2030, it will be around 3,200 MT.

“It is being envisaged that in 2030, out of the 3,200 MT loading, 1,400 MT will be coal, which is less than 50 per cent,” said Yadav, indicating that he expects a variety of goods to be included in Railways’ freight basket.

Railways maintain that trends in freight traffic reflect the broad trends of economic turn around as almost all commodities have shown positive growth in September and that gives a good indication of revival of the Indian economy in general and rail freight in particular.

In September, the total loading was 102.12 million tonnes, which includes 42.89 million tonnes of coal, 13.53 million tonnes of iron ore, 6.3 million tonnes of foodgrains, 5.34 million tonnes of fertilizers, 6.05 million tonnes of cement (excluding clinker), 3.85 million tonnes of clinker, and 3.52 million tonnes of mineral oil.

According to railways, freight movements will be institutionalized and incorporated in the upcoming zero based timetable.

In order to attract more loadings, a number of concessions/ discounts are being given to make freight rate very attractive.

Besides, railways have undertaken a slew of efforts like formation of Business Development Units at zonal levels, running specialised parcels and kisan trains.

While the third Kisan rail from Bengaluru to Hazrat Nizamuddin started on September 19 after Devlali-Muzaffarpur and Anantapur-Adarsh Nagar Kisan rail, one more Kisan rail is in the pipeline between Nagpur and Delhi.

With record freight performance, it seems, Covid-19 situation has been used by Indian Railways as an opportunity to improve all round efficiencies and performances.