Union Minister of Railways & Commerce & Industry, Piyush Goyal has said that the Indian Railways was making relentless efforts in the area of boosting freight loading and there was no scope of any slippages on any front. The minister called for coordinated operations among rail, coal and power entities to ensure maximum mutual growth of all the three sectors.
The minister made these observations at a meeting with the top leadership of the coal and power sector to ensure consolidation of the coal business of the Indian Railways as well as suggest ways and means to further improve the joint operational productivity of the three sectors concerning freight of the commodity.
Coal accounts for nearly 50 per cent of Railways’ freight, with last year’s loading at 587 million tonnes (MTs) out of a total freight of 1,210 MTs.
In a remarkable turnaround registered in September 2020, the Railways earned over Rs 98.96 billion from freight loading which is also Rs 11.80 billion higher compared to last year’s earnings for the same period (Rs 87.16 billion). The increase in freight revenue is 13.54 per cent. There is great potential to further enhance the loading of coal. An increase in coal loading will have a significant positive impact on railways freight revenues.
The Railways is now preparing to go all out to overtake last year's figures on a cumulative basis as well despite the COVID-19 related challenges and long lockdowns, the Ministry of Railways said in a press release.
Freight loading in September 2020 was 15.3 per cent more than last year for the same period.
“A slew of measures like more than 25 policy initiatives formation of business development units at zonal levels, running both specialised parcel and kisan (farmer) trains and better all-round monitoring ensured the growth,” a Railways spokesperson said.
Besides, many concessions and discounts were also being extended by Asia’s second-largest rail transporter to make rail freight attractive.