Amidst the challenges and difficulties due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus, the Indian Railways (IR) took a number of initiatives to boost the freight operations. As per the information released by the Railways, the freight loading in the month of August 2020 (till 27th August 2020) is 4.3% higher, compared to last year for the same month. In the month of August 2020 (till 27th August 2020) the total freight loading was 81.33 million tonnes which is higher than last year for the same month (77.97 million tonnes).
Further, the railways also took a series of initiatives towards tariff and non-tariff fields which pushed the freight operations.
While passengers’ trains were on a standstill during the COVID period, the Indian Railways turned it into an opportunity to substantially increase the speed of Freight Trains.
As per reports, there has been a 72% increase in the average speed of freight trains in the year 2020-21 as compared to last year. A 94% increase took place in the speed of freight trains in August 2020 compared to August 2019.
Tariff measures taken by IR to boost Freight Operations:
- 5% discount on loaded containers (addition to 25% on empty) for Containers from 03.08.2020.
- Discount for Pond ash / Moisturised ash – Open wagon – 40% for Power plants, Cement from 03.08.2020.
- Revision in the classification of Industrial salt from 120 to 100A for Chemical Industry from 03.08.2020.
- Stabling charges for private Container and Automobile trains waived off till 31.10.2020 for Containers and Automobile from 03.08.2020.
- Withdrawal of Busy Season charge – 15% for All sectors Except Coal, Iron ore and containers from 1.10.2019.
- Withdrawal of 5% surcharge of two point/mini rakes for Cement, Iron and steel, Food grains, Fertilizers, Bulk BOG from 1.10.2019.
- Discount for Fly ash – Bagged in open wagon – 40% for Power plants, Cement from 10.05.2020.
- Alternate terminal scheme – INR 56,000 to INR 80,000 per rake for All sector from 27.06.2020.
- Round trip Traffic (RTT) policy – charging of lower class for All sectors from 01.07.2020.
- Long lead concession – 15 to 20% for Coal, Iron ore and Iron and steel from 01.07.2020.
- Short lead concession – 10 to 50% for All sector (except coal and iron ore) from 01.07.2020
Non-Tariff initiatives taken by IR to boost Freight Operations:
- Two-point unloading permitted for Automobile traffic for Automobiles sector from 05.08.2020.
- Limit on number of Co-users in Private siding removed for All sectors from 18.08.2020.
- All private sidings / Good sheds / Private freight terminals opened up for Parcel traffic for Parcels from 18.08.2020.
- Reduced composition for Indented parcels extended till 31.03.202 for Parcels from 18.08.2020.
- Extension of time tabled parcel express till 31.12.2020 for Parcels from 19.06.2020.
- Application fee for Greenfield PFT reduced from Rs 10 Lakh to Rs 20,000 and completely waived off for conversion of siding to Brownfield PFT for All Sectors from 24.08.2020.
- 23 more two-point combinations opened for steel traffic for Steel sector from 25.08.2020.
- Freight and parcel helpline through 13 for All sectors from 26.08.2020.
- Distance restriction on Mini rakes of 1500 km removed with a small surcharge for Cement, Iron and steel, Food grains , Fertilizers, Bulk BOG from 27.08.2020.
Other Measures taken by IR to boost Freight Operations
- Business Development Units (BDUs) set up – Divisions, Zones and Board level.
- Restrictions on co-use of private sidings removed – 1,079 private sidings allowed to become private freight terminals effectively.
- 405 Major Good sheds being improved – Concrete surface, bright LED lighting, better roads & labour facilities – To enable 3 shift operations.
- Timetabled parcel trains.
- Opening up of export traffic to Bangladesh for Parcels, Containers & Automobile.
- Kisan rail introduced from Devlali (Nashik) to Danapur (Patna) on 07.08.2020– Multiple stoppages, Multiple commodities, Multiple parties – Now extended to Muzaffarpur. Link train from Kolhapur to Manmad also added. Now Bi-weekly from 24.08.2020. Total 04 trips have been completed till Now.