Indian Railways´ target of increasing freight tonnage by an incremental 85 million tonnes (mt) in 2015-16, against the traditional annual average of 50 mt, might appear ambitious, but the national transporter believes achieving such growth will not be a big task. The railways is pinning hopes on gross domestic product (GDP) growth of more than 8 per cent in 2015-16.
It also hopes recent reform initiatives, including e-auction of coal (which will raise demand for coal transport), will lead to a revival in key sectors such as energy. In the Railway Budget, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu had announced the railways esti-¡mated freight traffic would grow from 1,101 mt in 2014-15 to 1,186 mt in 2015-16. Of the additional tonnage of 85 mt, 42 would be accounted for by coal, while 9 mt would come from iron ore and seven from cement traffic.