The Railways is to resume its busy season charge of 15 per cent from October 1 this year.
“...the Competent Authority has decided that with effect from October 1, 2022, the Busy Season Charge will be leviable as it was in force prior to October 1, 2019, that is Busy Season Charge shall be leviable on transportation of all commodities except coal and coke, container traffic and automobile traffic moved in NMG, BCACM, BCCNR and BCACBM wagons,” said a Railway Ministry circular.
The charge will be levied on the base price and is expected to help the Railways earn an additional ₹3,400 crore from freight movement in the six months of the current fiscal. “It is a function of demand and supply and is part of the dynamic pricing policy of the railways,” an official explained.
The national transporter typically levies a 15 per cent charge between October 1 and June 30 every year, which it terms the busy or peak season. In the monsoon months, when freight movement is often low, the charge is waived off.
The charge was has been held in abeyance for the last three years. The Railways withdrew the busy season charge of 15 per cent in 2019 to boost freight operations. This waiver was continued in 2020 and 2021, amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, along with other incentives to encourage freight movement.
But with the opening up of the economy, the Railways has reported a rebound in its freight revenue this fiscal.
Between April and August this fiscal, it reported a 20 per cent jump in goods revenue to ₹65,502.02 crore from ₹54,724.99 crore a year ago. It also recorded freight loading of 119.32 mt in August 2022, which was its best ever for the month.