Amid the COVID pandemic, the Indian Railways is writing its success story, with its freight movement recording new highs crossing the pre-covid times.
As per the railway authorities, the volume of freight transported has seen double-digit growth of 10 percent over pre-pandemic volumes of 2019-20. These figures showcase how the Indian Railways with its constant efforts has turned the crisis into an opportunity and improve all-around efficiencies and performances.
In the year 2021-22, Indian Railway’s total loading is 203.88 million Tonnes (MT) which is 10% more than FY 2019-20 loading figures (184.88 MT) for the same period, a statement issued by the Indian railway claimed.
Along with increasing the freight volumes, the railways have also taken full advantage of the free Railway tracks and improved the speed of freight trains on the existing network by many folds. Freight speed has doubled over the last 18 months, railway officials maintained.
This development in the speed of freight trains has led to the saving of costs for all stakeholders and also made railways the preferred mode of transportations. Furthermore, the localized lockdown instead of nationwide and the unpredictability of the road sector has also benefitted the railways in the current times.
As per estimates, the overall freight earnings have touched Rs 2,000 crore, an over 50 percent increase compared to last year and a slight jump for the same period in 2019-20, which is the pre-covid times.
During May 2021, the major commodities transported by the railways are 97.06 million tonnes of Coal, 27.14 million tonnes of Iron Ore, 7.89 million tonnes of Foodgrains, 5.34 million tonnes of Fertilizers, 6.09 million tonnes of Mineral Oil, 11.11 million tonnes of Cement (excluding clinker) and 8.2 million tonnes of Clinker.
“In May 2021, Indian Railways earned Rs. 9278.95 crores from freight loading,” Indian Railways claims. The high speed of the Railways has also shown improvement in the Wagon Turnaround time. The figures suggest an improvement of 27 percent in this month and an overall 33 percent as compared to last year. In May 2021, wagon turnaround time is registered at 4.83 days as compared to 6.61 in May 2019, a railway official said.
Apart from the commendable performance and improvement showcased by the freight trains, the railways have also laid down many concessions or discounts on railways freight movement, which is attracting more freight business.
The Railway’s innovation of Kisan Rail (cool storage on wheels) has also come as a win-win situation for both the farmers and the Railways. While this innovation is making rail a preferable mode of transportation for the movement of perishables and increasing the freight business, it is also helping the small farmers expand their reach to urban markets and increase their incomes.
Meanwhile, Railways Oxygen Express is also overcoming all hurdles and bringing relief by delivering Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) to various states across the country.
So far, Indian Railways has run 272 oxygen express and delivered more than 17945 MT of LMO in more than 1080 tankers to various states across the country.
In a scale-up of operations which continued till late yesterday midnight, Oxygen Expresses with 969 MT of LMO started their journeys from Cyclone hit the Eastern States and beat tough weather. These 12 Oxygen Expresses include 3 trains for Tamil Nadu, 4 trains for Andhra Pradesh, and 1 each for Delhi region, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, and Kerala.