Indian Railways loaded an additional cargo of 62 million tonnes (mt) in the year ended March 31, over the previous year, as per initial estimates, according to multiple Railway sources.

With this, the Railways has hauled 1,223 mt cargo during the year, against 1,161.66 mt loaded last year. The freight loaded last fiscal is likely to be the maximum loaded ever.

Coal continued to occupy the major chunk of incremental cargo moved by the national transporter.

Of the 62 mt extra load, the largest chunk or close to 80 per cent was from coal. The Railways loaded 603 mt of coal in 2018-19, against 555 mt loaded in the previous fiscal, according to an official.

To ward off competition from other modes, including large trucks moving goods on roads and coastal cargo, the Railways entered into long-term agreements with customers, and had also tweaked tariffs by introducing discounts to customers who were willing to load traffic in directions that usually do not find customers (termed empty flow direction), among others.

Among the Railway zones, the South Central Railway shipped almost a third of the total incremental cargo of the Railways chugging over 19 mt in 2018-19.

The national transporter gets maximum share of its total revenues by lugging freight like coal, steel, petroleum products, iron ore, cement, fertiliser, foodgrain and containers. Within the freight segment, coal accounts for maximum loading and earning.

Till February, the Railways was able to carry more of coal, raw material for steel plants, cement, fertiliser and containers, compared to the corresponding time of last fiscal, according to official data. There was a drop in loading of foodgrain, petroleum products and finished steel from steel plants, among others.