Railways’ slow run in freight traffic continues, grows 3% in December

Freight carried by the Railways grew 3 per cent in December, marking a full quarter of modest performance in a financial year that earlier saw the national transporter set records in loading.

“During the month of December 2022, originating freight loading of 130.66 million tonnes (mt) has been achieved against loading of 126.8 mt in December 2021, which is an improvement of 3 per cent over last year. Freight revenue of Rs 14,573 crore has been achieved against Rs 12914 crore freight earnings in December 2021, thereby an improvement of 13 per cent over last year,” said the railways ministry.

Railways’ freight grew by 1 per cent and 5 per cent in October and November. Commodity-wise data for December is not available yet.

On a cumulative basis, 1109.38 mt of goods were transported in FY23 against last year’s loading of 1029.96 mt, keeping overall growth at 8 per cent. Indian Railways earned Rs 1.2 trillion till December from freight, marking a growth of 16 per cent year-on-year.

Freight volume for raw materials did modestly, but the Railways had steady growth in its miscellaneous and finished goods segment. The transporter said this is because its service delivery at competitive prices is resulting in new traffic from conventional and non conventional commodity streams.

Experts said the transporter needs to maintain a CAGR of 10 per cent to meet its freight targets envisioned in the National Rail Plan. The government wants to significantly increase the national transporter’s freight numbers, along with its modal freight share to 45 per cent by 2030. As per government estimates, consolidated demand for freight will be over 6,300 mt by 2026 and 8220 mt by 2031.

The national transporter would need to account for over 3600 mt in 2031 to meet its NRP targets. In the near-term, it is targeting over 2000 mt by 2024.

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