SCR targets 110 MT Freight this Fiscal, despite slow H1

Secunderabad (SC): The South Central Railway (SCR) on Monday said it was hopeful of handling 100-110 million tonnes (mt) freight load by the end of the current fiscal.

In doing this, SCR would be poised to clock a total freight revenue of Rs 8,300-crore for the full year 2013-14, an 11.1% growth in terms of value. In 2012-13, SCR has achieved a revenue of Rs 7,469-crore against a freight volume of 111.5 mt.

In the Apr-Nov period 2013-14, the railway was able to move 68.5 mt freight volume as against 70.9 mt for the corresponding period last year. However, due to hike in freight charges and operational efficiencies, it showed a moderate rise in turnover to Rs 4,670-crore during the six-month period when compared with Rs 4,658-crore last year.

SCR general manager P K Srivastava said the railway was making all-out efforts to bridge the volume shortfall with an increased intake for the rest of the year. “The hit in the last two months was due to heavy rains, which affected the coal production and evacuation at Singareni Collieries Limited,” said Srivastava.

The rupee devaluation and sluggishness in the economy impacted the volume of imported coal handled by the SCR. The cement sector underperformance too hit the railway.

With the economy showing signs of demand growth, Srivastava expects coal and cement freight volumes to pick up for the rest of the year. “We’re working out to ensure seamless transport connectivity to the Krishnapatnam and Kakinada ports in the state,” he said. The new arrangements would help it handle high traffic during the rest of the year.

Gross earnings to touch Rs 11,740-crore

For the financial year 2013-14, SCR expects gross earnings to touch Rs 11,740-crore, which is a 16% jump from the last year’s Rs 10,109-crore. It is targeting to improve its operating ratio at 83%. For the Apr-Nov period this stood at 86.9%.

In the 2014-15 Rail Budget, SCR plans to pitch for additional infra facilities, coaching complexes and world-class stations.

Preparedness for possible bifurcation

On the possible bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, Srivastava indicated the Railway Board was responsible for all decisions related to formation of new zones, divisions and railways. “These are sensitive issues as it involves bifurcation of staff, seniority considerations among others,” he said. If the exercise is started, it would be a “big one,” he added.