Supporting the drowning Indian economy and continuously down turning auto industry, Indian Railways, on September 12, announced certain freight incentives, in an attempt to increase freight loading.
P. S. Mishra, Member (Traffic), Railway Board said announcing the measures, “As there is lesser growth in the industry, there has been lesser demand for rake for freight. We want to reduce the cost of transportation to help the industry. Through these measures, we hope to meet our targets and make money.”
The Busy Season Charge (BSC), which is levied at 15% from 1 Oct-30 June, has been deferred until any further advice is received. Besides, Coal & coke and container traffic are already exempted from the BSC.
Also, the 5% Supplementary charges applicable on loading on Mini and Two-point rakes is being waived off. This measure is likely to boost loading of smaller cargo sizes and help cement, steel, food grains and fertilizers loading.
A round trip charging of container trip has been introduced for a distance of less than 50 km on each way, to increase the container traffic in the 0-50 km distance slab, which is the minimum distance slab for charging.
As per this scheme, haulage for 0-100 km slab will be charged for the total to and fro movement, instead of charging for 0-50 km slab each way.
Apart from these, a discount of 25% discount in haulage charge of containers has also been given to encourage the movement of empty/flat to ports. This in return will increase loaded container traffic. It is being expected that the discount policy will enhance the price-competitiveness of Railway in relation to other modes of transport and expand freight basket by capturing new traffic.
According to container haulage charging policy, notified commodities are charged at Container Class Rates (CCR), which is 15% lower than General Tariff Rates (GTR). Rest of the commodities are charged at Freight All Kind (FAK) rates, which are again lower than CCR.
Notably, 90 more commodities have been de-notified recently bringing down their haulage charge from CCR to FAK rates. At present, out of total 635 commodities in Goods Tariff, only 38 commodities are under notified/CCR rates.
Indian Railways Reviving the Auto Industry
The Railways, as well, has decided to increase the number of rakes to provide transportation to the auto industry. As mentioned by Mishra, special wagons are being designed for the automobile sector to help them transport vehicles safely through trains instead of the road.
According to P. S. Mishra, this will help the depreciating auto industry cut down on costs and the step has been taken following representation from several automobile companies. Maruti, Kia Motors and Ford are some of the companies that have shown interest in using Railways facilities.
“We had limited business of only 2% in the auto sector which we are trying to increase. We are increasing the rakes for automobiles from 10 to 26 and will try to take it to 50 at some point of time,” Mishra said.