Railways to surpass freight movement, revenue this fiscal y-o-y

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New Delhi, December 18 Having loaded an extra 10 per cent in the first fortnight of December (till 16 December) against the same time last year, Indian Railways is confident of loading and getting extra revenue from freight movement for the whole of this fiscal, a year when it has faced various kinds of challenges triggered by Covid-19 pandemic.

For the whole of this year, revenue from freight will surpass that of last fiscal, while revenue from passenger movement will be lower, Vinod Kumar Yadav, Chairman and CEO, Railway Board said in a conference here on Friday.

Passenger revenue is expected to be at ₹15,000 crore this fiscal against ₹53,000 crore last year, he said. However, Railways expects to cover its operational expenditure from its revenue this year. “We are controlling expenditure – there is saving of fuel cost due to not running passenger trains and rationalisation of inventory,” he said. “With this, in the present year as well, we expect that Railways will be able to meet its operational expenditure from the revenues,” said CRB.

Speaking on commodity movement, he said that so far, the trend has been that cargo from the traditional basket-like coal, steel, cement has been lower than the same time last year, while other products like containers, petroleum products, among others have seen an increase.

On when Railways will resume its normal passenger services, Yadav said that the Railways is stepping ahead to resume its passenger trains towards normalcy in consultation with states.

Even now, about 30-40 per cent of the trains are seeing lower occupancy (with people prioritising health over travel), he added stressing again on the need to have reserved services only, he said.

Clone trains – which are duplicate, run on high demand routes – are seeing 70-100 per cent occupancy. “We will continue to run these clone trains post Covid-19 as well, we are meeting the demand by providing seats, moreover we break-even as well,” he said.

Almost 30,000 railway employees were affected due to Covid-19 and there were some unfortunate deaths as well, he said. Railways are also looking at the possible role it can play in Covid-19 vaccine transportation and will step in wherever required, he added.

Lower freight rates

The overall cost of freight transportation will be lower by almost 30 per cent and the benefit will be passed on to its customers, envisages Railways in its long term strategy map.

Indian Railways will be unveiling its national rail plan – that will outline the Indian Railways’ strategy on how it plans to increase its modal share in overall transportation to 45 per cent by 2030 against a present level of 27 per cent; and how it aims to become a net zero carbon emitter with the use of solar energy and other sources.

The national rail plan – in which railways have mapped the freight demand based on a survey – envisages that infrastructure will be created ahead of demand. Several infrastructure lines will be created till 2024, based on a vision it embarked on a few years ago. They include North East Connectivity projects (of 288 km) by March 2023 and completing the remaining 111 km of Udhampur Srinagar Baramaula project by December 2022.

The plan is to create infrastructure till 2030 that will meet the requirement till 2050, said the CRB.

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