Railways eyes higher freight volumes in post-Covid era

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on August 20, 2020

Indian Railways, which has been striving to increase its freight cargo operations, has taken a number of decisions to attract a higher quantum of cargo in the post Covid-19 era.

Following this, it has been able to garner additional freight that includes metals like iron ore and steel pipes, agriculture produce like sugar and chillies, construction products like fly-ash and cement, and vehicles from customers like Kia Motors from Walajabad, among others, Railway Board Chairman VK Yadav told a press conference here on Thursday.

The initiatives to attract cargo volumes include a mix of tariff and non-tariff measures. Additionally, the Railways is planning to build a new Freight Operation Information System — a freight e-marketplace as a common logistics solution portal — by December 2021.

All private sidings, goods sheds and private freight terminals have been opened up for parcel trains in August, he said, adding that these are part of liberalisation steps being undertaken. “The objective is to ensure there is a quantum jump in freight this year as well as next,” said the Chairman, adding the organisation is converting a lot of train tracks to add to the network capacity.

Citing data, Yadav said that freight loading in the past 18 days has been about 7 per cent more than in the previous year period, a trend that started from July-end. He added that the Railways will be focussing on improving the speed of freight trains and ensuring quicker turnaround time.

The Railways’ endeavour is to continue to run a similar number of freight trains even after normal passenger services are resumed, he added. Passenger trains are running at 30-40 per cent capacity, he said, adding that more trains will be run after consultation with State governments.

Published on August 20, 2020

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