After recording a dismal growth of 1% freight loading in FY16, Indian Railwayshas embarked on significant reforms in its freight policies in order to meet the budgeted incremental loading target of 50 million tonnes or 4.5% for FY17.
The transporter has already started identifying sections to run the first of its kind “time-tabled” freight trains on a pilot basis, starting May-June this year.
These time-tabled freight trains, which will reach their destinations in specified time, will initially be for parcel and container traffic on selected routes where there is an opportunity of free passage for a few hours. The IR is looking at running such container trains on the Jaipur-Ahmedabad-Pipav Port and the Delhi-Mumbai routes.
The national carrier will also run time-tabled parcel trains on Delhi-Howrah-Guwahati routes and is also contemplating on transporting time-tabled coal-laden freight trains on the Delhi-Mughalsarai route.
“We believe running of time-tabled freight trains is very much possible. We are in the process of doing some major traffic analysis and are still identifying sections where these trains can be run. Besides, we will also ensure that our market share is retained in long as well as short-haul freight traffic. With this objective, we already have introduced a lot of freight rationalising and incentive schemes like: removing the existing 10% port congestion surcharge, reduced tariffs for the ‘merry-go-round’ scheme; due to which Singareni Collieries has committed to transport an additional 3-4 million tonnes of additional traffic,” said Mohammed Jamshed, Railway Board Member-Traffic.
“We have also opened the container segment to all traffic barring coal and certain specified minerals. Also, unloading of domestic container traffic to all railway good sheds where freight movement is less has been made possible. Our aim is to iron off the smallest of irritants which discourage customers to transport their goods with us,” he added.
The transporter in FY16 had set the highest incremental loading target of 85 million tonnes as part of its budget estimates, which had to be scaled down to 1,107 million tonnes in its revised estimates.
The transporter, according to data compiled by FE at the fiscal year-end of FY16, missed its revised freight loading target 0.27% as the tonnage of cement, foodgrain, domestic as well as EXIM containers declined.
IR also missed its revised freight revenue target for the full fiscal FY16 by 2.29%, but a senior official requesting anonymity said the data available right now is preliminary and when the final data comes out and adjustments are made, the transporter would have achieved all its targets with an operating ratio of 90%.
The transporter has pegged its freight loading to grow by 4.5% to 1,157 million tonnes in FY17, and is expecting its freight revenue to grow by 5.4%.