Railways’ freight revenue up 19% in Aug, earns Rs 66,658 cr during FY23

Fuelled by increased coal supply to meet the record power demand, Indian Railways’ freight earnings touched Rs 12,926 crore in August.

The national transporter carried 119 million tonnes (mt) of goods and raw materials during last month, growing by 7.9 per cent year-on-year (YoY). This comes even as coal-producing states and railway infrastructure suffered due to floods and heavy rain.

With this, the national transporter earned Rs 66,658 crore from freight operations during this financial year.

In August 2022, freight loading of the railways increased by 8 per cent over the last year, and revenue went up by 18.9 per cent, according to officials. Coal loading registered an annual increase of 20 per cent during August as railways carried 58 mt of coal during the month, up from last year’s 48 mt.

Long-distance transportation alone helped coal freight revenue rise by a whopping 42 per cent during August, and almost 39 per cent for the financial year, till date.

Sources said transportation of both imported and coastally-shipped coal also contributed to freight revenues. While freight revenue has increased over last year, volumes are still falling short of railways’ ambitious target of 1,700 mt of freight loading during this financial year. “There is a need to achieve close to 150 mt in the coming months to meet the target,” an official said. Meanwhile, continuing its downward trajectory, the second-largest commodity in the railways’ freight basket — iron ore —saw transportation of 12.4 mt, a fall of 7 per cent. Officials said low industrial production could be the reason behind the low demand for freight. Transportation of foodgrain saw a 20 per cent fall in August, over the preceding month.

So far during this financial year, 30 mt of food grains have been ferried, a 12 per cent rise over last year.

Railways' freight revenue up 19% in Aug, earns Rs 66,658 cr during FY23The railways’ plan to diversify its freight basket continues to be slow but maintained a steady growth rate of 7.6 per cent in the miscellaneous goods category.

In 2022-23, miscellaneous goods’ loading increased 13 per cent and earnings from these goods rose 17 per cent.

Since the onset of Covid, railways augmented its freight volumes due to lower track congestion. At the peak of Covid in April 2020, railways had ferried 1,209 mt of goods.

Having hit 1,400 mt in the last financial year, the national transporter plans to reach 2,000 mt by 2023-24.

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