Railways targets 72 MT more Freight Loading in 2017-18

Although Freight loading is down, billion ton tag safe. IR will be substantially over a billion ton of loading. We shall achieve the revised target: Mohammad Jamshed

NEW DELHI:  In what is a worrying sign for the railways, the transporter has fallen short of its freight targets for the current year. What is even more problematic, said officials, is that the current year’s actual figures for most railway zones are less than what they loaded last year.

IR has set a revised freight loading target of 1,093 million tonne (mt) for the present fiscal (2016-17) ending March, as per the revised estimates. This is 1.5 mt lower than the 1101.51 million tonne of goods loaded in 2015-16. For fiscal 2017-18, as per the budget estimates, Railways has set a freight loading target of 1165 mt.

To meet the target Railways have to carry 72 million tonne of cargo. The new target is ambitious given that the Railways has set an incremental loading target of 50 million tonne for 2016-17, against 2015-16.

Earnings from freight are the mainstay of railways, with two-third of total revenues coming from freight.

Against a target of loading 890.86 million tons between April 1, 2016 and January 10 2017, the railway has managed to load just 839.10 million tons. This is actually less than the 844.95 milion tons the railways loaded between April 1, 2015 and January 10, 2016.

Till December 31, 2016, both Western and Central Railways have failed to meet their targets set for the two zones from the period between April 1 and December 31, 2016. Against a target of 43.33 million tons, CR managed to achieve 38.35 million tons. WR managed to load 53.20 million tons against a target of 60.03 million tons during the same period.

The only silver lining, most railway officials said, was that there is no immediate danger of the railways falling out of the ‘Billion Ton Club’, currently made up of the United States, Russia and China, apart from India.

The overall target for the railways till March 31, 2017 is 1160 million tons (1.16 billion tons). Mohammad Jamshed, Member (Traffic), Railway Board said the railways will maintain its Billion Ton distinction. “The railways will be substantially over a billion ton of loading. We shall achieve the revised target. Poor coal demand has adversely impacted loading which to a large extent has been made good by other sectors,” Jamshed said. India first entered the BTC in 2012-13 when it managed to load 1010 million tons of freight.