Monopoly over Transport of Coal to TN Power Plants boosts Southern Railway’s inward traffic

CHENNAI: Shift in transportation of coal to all-rail mode from various mines in Eastern India to power plants in Tamil Nadu helped Southern Railway (SR) get more inward traffic in 2017-18.

Earlier, coal for Tangedo used to move from mines by rail/trucks to Haldia, Paradip or Vishakapatnam ports from where coastal ships carried cargo to Kamarajar port at Ennore. From here, coal was moved again by rail to various consuming points in Southern SR network – that involved multi-modal transport.

However, through all-rail mode, coal is loaded at various mines, including Talcher, Ib Valley and Raniganch, directly on to rail wagons and the cargo is transported all the way to power plants in the State. This reduces extra handling at two ports and the Railways is ready to give rail links.

Overall, there could be 15 per cent cost reduction for Tangedco by shifting to all-rail movement when compared with rail-sea-rail mode, said SR sources. In 2017-18, there was a loss of originating coal (traffic within SR) due to decline in coal traffic at Kamarajar port.

This was offset by more inward traffic, which increased 25 per cent to 24 million tonnes (MT) as against 19 MT in previous financial year. SR earned apportioned revenue of INR 2,694 crore in 2017-18 as against INR 2,615 crore in previous year, a 3 per cent growth.

In apportioned traffic, for example, if cargo is loaded in Chennai to a customer Delhi (total distance being around 2,000 km) SR’s rail network in this 131 km. This means, if freight INR 100 per tonne, SR’s share will less than 10 per cent based on network that was used by cargo to move.

The balance amount will be shared by those railways through which cargo transits, said sources. However, if cargo is moving from Tirunelveli to Chennai, both originating and apportioned revenue rests with SR as the cargo has not moved to another zonal railway.

Sources said that there was a deficit of around 3 MT tonnes in originating cargo traffic due to lack of coal moved by coastal mode and JSW using Krishnapatinam port in first half of year but returning to Chennai port in second half. Increased receipt of loaded stock was able to offset the deficit in originating traffic.