Indian Railways eyes big bucks through freight corridors

With the expanding dedicated freight corridors (DFC), the Indian Railways is expecting to produce a healthy profit while capturing more and more of the freight market, according to data released by the government.

Replying to a question in the Lok Sabha, railway minister Piyush Goyal that the freight loading in the financial year 2018-2019 was 1,221.39 million tonnes, while the earnings were INR 1.27 lakh crore.

In the year 2017-2018, the national transporter loaded 1159.55 metric ton goods, earning an amount of Rs 1.17 lakh crore from it. The previous year, the loading was 1106.15 metric ton, while the earnings were Rs 1.04 lakh crore, Goyal said.

The IR has set the target of achieving 50% share in freight traffic by 2030 from existing 33%. The share of dedicated freight corridors and expansion of existing projects are expected to help the Railways in eating a larger share of the market.

The expansion of the existing network is being done with 505 projects – including 263 doubling, 185 new lines and 57-gauge conversions in various stages of execution.

The western and eastern dedicated freight corridors would prove pivotal for an all-around growth in the total traffic of Railways by at least 144 million tonnes by 2022. The cost of two dedicated freight corridors is 81,459 crore rupees and the railways has spent 45,000 crore rupees so far.

The Railways were losing their edge in freight transport slowly due to well-developed road infrastructure in the country. This is a huge loss for Railways as freight is the main source of profit for them.

The Lok Sabha report said the Traditional Empty Flow Direction (TEFD) as well as Long Term Tariff Contract (LTTC) have been formulated by the IR.

Several new schemes for the freight customers such as private wagon investment schemes such as General-Purpose Wagon Investment Scheme (GPWIS), Automobiles Freight Train Operator (AFTO), Special Freight Train Operator (SFTO) and Liberalised Wagon Investment Scheme (LWIS) have been formulated.

Meanwhile, the two Dedicated Freight Corridors – the Eastern DFC and the Western DFC – are targeted to be completed by the year 2021 in phases. The Khurja-Bhaupur stretch on Eastern DFC and the Rewari-Palanpur stretch on Western DFC are scheduled for completion this year only. The DFCs are being implemented by the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Limited (DFCCIL), a Special Purpose Vehicle set up under the Railway Ministry.

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