Indian Railways - held as the lifeline of the country- for being the principal mode of transportation in the country has brought massive news that raises hopes of a revival of the pandemic-battered economy. In what can be seen as an extremely healthy indicator for the economy, Railways has posted a higher freight load in July when compared to the same period from last year. Railways posted an 80 per cent jump in food grains freight load, a clear sign of revival. Things also went up on coal, cement, iron, steel, foodgrains and fertilisers front.
The Indian Railways has inched ahead of 2019's freight loading in July. On July 27, it managed to load 3.13 MT of goods as compared to 3.12 MT on the same date last year, despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Railways managed to turn the tables by implementing a series of measures like improving the average speed of freight train and by undertaking more than 200 infrastructure works during the past four months that resulted in improved movement.
However, the cumulative overall loading of freight trains remains 18.18 per cent less than last year. This, however, is likely to improve as Railways has successfully managed to bring down logistics cost for industry to match best international benchmarks.
On July 27, a total of 1,039 rakes were loaded with freight which includes 76 rakes of foodgrain, 67 rakes of fertiliser, 49 rakes of steel, 113 rakes of cement, 113 rakes of iron ore and 363 rakes of coal, the railways said. The average speed of freight trains on July 27 was 46.16 kmph which is more than double as compared to last year's 22.52 kmph for the same date, it said.
In July, the average speed of freight trains was 45.03 kmph which is around double compared to last year's 23.22 kmph for the same month, the national transporter said.
Here's how Railways has improved output:
In the East Coast Railway the average speed of freight trains is 41.78 kmph, in South East Central Railway it is 42.83 kmph, in South Eastern Railway it is 43.24 kmph and in Western Railway it is 44.4 kmph.
"These improvements in freight movements will be institutionalised and incorporated in the upcoming zero-based time table," Railway Board Chairman VK Yadav said in an online press conference. "These steps will lead to significantly higher freight traffic and earnings for the Railways and cost competitive logistics for the entire country," he said.
The Railways has set a target of achieving 50 per cent more freight loading in the current fiscal as compared to 2019-2020, Yadav said.
He also said that since last year, a number of concessions and discounts are being given by the Indian Railways to make its freight services more attractive for customers.
The Railways has achieved record loading of foodgrains, 80 per cent more than last year, and has introduced timetabled parcel services, the Railway Board chairman said.
End-to-end logistic services in parcel business
- Railway will gradually move away from leasing of parcel space in trains – and will introduce on-line booking of parcel space in trains of choice (on firstcome-first-serve basis) at pre-determined freight rates
- Zonal Railways are identifying terminals which can be converted into dedicated Parcel terminals
- Will separate parcel traffic from passenger platforms
- Will also facilitate space to parcel-handling agencies, for stacking and processing of their cargo
- Will be a step in the direction of providing end-to-end logistic services to customers
He said that the Railways has set up multi-disciplinary business development units (BDU) at the Railway Board and Zonal levels. It has also empowered zonal chiefs to attract traffic.
The business development teams (BDT) will advertise and give wide publicity for generating demand, formulate traffic development proposals to draw newer clients from the industry.