Railway freight hasten towards recovery, indicating an economic upswing


Sweeping its way through the turbulence caused by the pandemic, the Indian Railways’ freight figures continue to maintain a high momentum in terms of earnings and loading, indicating a fast-moving economic upswing.

The national transporter has registered highest ever loading figures i.e., 119.79 million tonnes (mt) of cargo during the month of January.

Earnings from freight grew 5.9% from a year earlier in January to ₹11,838.36 crore, showed government data issued this week.

Showcasing exceptional performance for the last few months, Indian Railways has surpassed last year’s loading and earnings for the same period. And, it is expected that the cumulative freight loading will surpass last year’s freight loading figures.

As per the statistics provided by the railway ministry till 8th February 2021, Indian Railways’ loading was 30.54 million tonnes which include 13.61 million tonnes of coal, 4.15 million tonnes of iron ore, 1.04 million tonnes of foodgrains, 1.03 million tonnes of fertilizers, 0.96 million tonnes of mineral oil and 1.97 million tonnes of cement (excluding clinker).

After a sharp drop in June 2020 caused due to the pandemic, railways has taken strict measure for its freight business which began recovery from last August.

The railways has been on a mission to grow its freight revenue and has taken severe action in this regards by giving a number of concessions and discounts.

Besides, to attract new business and incentivise other existing clients, Ministry of Railways has held meetings with the top leadership of iron & steel, cement, power, coal, automobiles and logistics service providers. And has set up Business Development Units at Zonal & Divisional levels and worked on doubling of freight speed.

As a result of these efforts, in the current financial year, despite pandemic, Railways have achieved record freight loading in the last 5 months i.e. September 2020 to January 2021.

According to Union Budget estimates, the railways has pegged freight revenue at ₹1.24 trillion this fiscal. In FY22, it aims to earn ₹1.38 trillion, growing 11% compared to this year’s target.

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