Indian Railways eyes 2 Billion Tonnes in Freight Movement by 2023-24

The coal projection for 2020-2022 is 1,500 MT in India. The present 555 MT of loading should reach around 800 MT in the next two-three years and then it should increase to 1,000 MT thereafter. With the assurance of doubling of coal stocks at power plants by new CMD of Coal India Ltd., the target seems to be achievable.

NEW DELHI: The railways is eyeing two billion tonnes in freight movement on the back of coal loading, in the next five years, thus joining the elite club of Chinese, Russian and USA railways, a senior official said yesterday.

As of now, coal loading is around 555 million tonnes (MT), which is 22 MT more than the previous year’s, and the railways is banking on this growth to leapfrog into the 2-billion tonnes target.  “The coal projection for 2020-2022 is 1,500 MT in India. The present 555 MT of loading should reach around 800 MT in the next two-three years and then it should increase to 1,000 MT thereafter. So, in this way there is demand of growth everywhere.

“Steel sector is booming for which we have to move iron-ore. There are hundreds of indents pending for rakes, cement plants are proliferating and they have set up grinding units for which rakes are needed for movement. Container traffic is also increasing. Our target is to reach 2,000 MT (two billion tonne) by 2023-2024,” said Mohd Jamshed, Member, Traffic, Railway Board.

Jamshed also said the railways will diversify into other commodities. The railways was mulling offering concessions to draw traffic by allowing many such goods where loading is below the one million tonne mark.

New CIL CMD ensure doubling of Coal Stocks at Power Plants

New full time Chairman of Coal India Ltd, the largest coal miner in the world, says his priority will be to ensure that power plants have coal supply for at least 22 days henceforth. Mr Jha CMD at Mahanadi Coalfield Ltd until recently said that “There was a recent meeting in the Ministry of Power where it was decided if we give power plants 14 lakhs tonnes of coal every day, no plant will see a critical supply situation. Since 5-7 days ago we have been sending 14 lakhs every day. Due to past issues on an average there is just ten day’s coal stocks at power plants. We have to try and ensure that power plants have stocks for 22 days, so if there is a delay of one or two days it isn’t critical.”

The constraint is in logistics and not production. Mr Jha said that “I cannot open a coal mine at short notice of 2-3 months, it takes between 3-5 years to open a new mine. As of today there is 45 million tonnes of stock with CIL but due to severe logistics, where there is coal there is no rail network, so until and unless that coal is transported to the power plant having coal has got no meaning.”

MCL, in a first of its kind, has spent INR 1000 crore on a 53 km long rail line. Mr Jha said that “The entire expenditure was borne by the CIL subsidiary but the facility was created for the state. Now we are evacuating coal through that. If Lord Jagannath permits that line can also be used for passenger trains.”

CIL would continue to explore acquiring assets outside the country; funds are not a problem said Jha. “MCL alone has INR 20,000 crore in bank balance and we are not able to spend it.

Mr Jha said that “We would like to see where we can gainfully invest this amount. That is why we are exploring the possibilities of creating infrastructure we are going for railway lines, we are going for power plants, we will be going for Coal- to- Liquid project also and are keen on undertaking a pilot project.”

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