New Delhi, Apr 1 (PTI) The railways carried 1107 million tons of goods, exceeding the freight target despite the gloomy market scenario in 2016-17 fiscal.
The loading target was fixed at 1160 MT in the 2016-17 which was later revised to 1094 MT, keeping the prevailing market condition in mind. It had carried 1104 MT freight in 2015-16.
The railways earned Rs 1.67 lakh crore in 2016-17 fiscal from freight, as against Rs 1.63 lakh crore in the last fiscal.
“We managed the record loadings this time despite the adverse market condition due to the several reforms undertaken in the freight sector,” Railway Board Member (Traffic) Mohd Jamshed told PTI.
“Continuous hike in freight rates over the years had made the freight rate very high which resulted in shifting of goods from rail to roads,” he said.
Reviewing the situation, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu initiated a series of reforms in the freight sector including withdrawal of busy season surcharge and port congestion charge, among others, to make the rates competitive.
Introduction of freight rebate, liberal siding policy and private terminal policy and creation of rail auto hub helped to increase the loadings, he said.
Jamshed said, “There was a sharp fall in the coal demand due to various reasons and it affected the loadings between April and October in 2016.”
Since coal is the major source of loadings among all other commodities, the fall in coal demand affected the Railways adversely, he said.
“However, we started looking beyond coal and started carrying other goods like stone, vegetable oil, chemical, fly ash, red mud, timber and many other such goods. As a result we carried 79.9 MT other goods in the year,” he added.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.