Indian Railways’ freight loading growth much lower than expected

Freight loading targets too far to be met

Indian Railways, of late, has been struggling to meet the target growth in earnings from both freight loading and passenger.

According to official documents, the national transporter had set a target of 12.22 per cent growth in freight loading, but the actual increase stood at 2.80 per cent. Similarly, it had set a target to achieve a 9.65 per cent growth in passenger earnings by August, but in reality, it managed a growth of 4.56 per cent over the same period last year.

Earlier in September, in a letter, the Railway Board had urged all the 17 zones to take measures to counter the slowdown. The Railways has, in fact, initiated a slew of measures to counter the slowdown.

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 per cent 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 per cent 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.

The Railways has witnessed a shortfall of around INR 12,000 crore from loading, ticketing and sundries in the April-August period this year as compared to the corresponding period last year, with the national transporter failing to meet any of its target growth rates in the first five months of the current fiscal, according to official documents.

The deficit does not take into account the expenses for the salaries of the staff or pension, which is likely to take the shortfall to a much higher amount.

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