Railways clocks 7.5 per cent rise in April-May Freight earnings

NEW DELHI: Indian Railways has earned Rs 20,000 crore from freight loading in April and May. The national transporter posted a 7.5% year-on-year growth in freight loading and carried a record 200 million tonnes of freight in the first two months of the current financial year. The brisk start to the year has raised hopes that the railways will be able to meet its freight loading target of 1,216 million tonnes for 2018-19, officials said.

The maximum increase in the first two months came from coal, they said. “Out of the total 200 million tonnes of loading, around 100 million tonnes was coal. It was around 7.5% more than in the corresponding period last year,” said a senior railways ministry official, who did not wish to be identified. “The demand is very high from power plants and we have assured 100% supply of rakes so that there is no coal shortage because of transportation issues,” the official said. In April-May 2017, the railways had loaded 186 million tonnes of freight.

Loading of other commodities such as raw material for steel plants, iron ore, cement, fertilisers and container traffic also showed an uptick.

The official said that railways minister Piyush Goyal had given a stern warning to officials to ensure that rakes are made available to all bulk consumers. “We aren’t taking our consumers for granted any more. The turnaround time of freight trains has also been reduced. Also, bulk consumers who want to move their goods through railways are being given around 5% discount if they give assured quantity of traffic for the year,” the official said.

In the last fiscal, the railways had earned Rs 1.17 lakh crore through freight loading. For this year, it has set a target of earning Rs 1.21lakh crore from freight. Earnings from passenger segment are pegged at Rs 52,000 crore. The total receipts of railways, including sundry and non-fare revenue, are estimated to be Rs 2 lakh crore in the current fiscal. In a recent interview, Goyal had said his target was to double the revenue of the railways in the next seven years.