New Delhi: On mission mode, Indian Railways has taken a number of initiatives to boost the freight operations in-spite of COVID-19 related challenges. Because of these initiatives, the freight loading in the month of August (till 27th August) is 4.3 percent higher, compared to last year for the same month. In the month of August, the total freight loading was 81.33 million tonnes which are higher than last year for the same month at 77.97 million tonnes.
Here is the list of initiatives Indian Railways has taken in tariff & non-tariff field:-
Utilizing the COVID-19 period as an opportunity the Indian Railways substantially increase the speed of Freight Trains. The Railways increased average speed of Freight Trains by 72 percent in the year 2020-21 as compared to last year. 94 percent increase took place in the speed of Freight Trains in August 2020 compared to August 2019.
Following are the latest tariff rationalisation initiatives taken by the Railways to boost freight operations with effect from August 3, 2020
- 5% discount on loaded containers (addition to 25% on empty) for containers.
- Discount for pond ash/ moisturised ash – open wagon – 40 percent for power plants, cement
- Revision in the classification of Industrial salt from 120 to 100A for the chemical industry
- Stabling charges for private container and automobile trains waived off till October 31, 2020, for containers and automobile
Following are some other tariff rationalisation initiatives (measures) taken by Indian Railways to boost freight operations
- Withdrawal of busy season charge by 15 percent for all sectors except coal, iron ore and containers from October 1, 2019.
- Withdrawal of surcharge by 5 percent of two-point/mini rakes for cement, iron and steel, food grains, fertilizers, bulk BOG from October 1, 2019.
- Discount for fly ash – bagged in the open wagon - 40 percent for power plants, cement from May 10, 2020.
- Alternate terminal scheme from Rs 56,000 to Rs 80,000 per rake for all sector from June 27, 2020.
- Round trip traffic (RTT) policy – charging of lower class for all sectors from July 1, 2020.
- Long lead concession from 15 to 20 percent for coal, iron ore and iron and steel from July 1, 2020.
- Short lead concession from 10 to 50 percent for all sector (except coal and iron ore ) from July 1, 2020.
Following are the latest non-tariff initiatives taken by the Railways to boost freight operations:
- Two-point unloading permitted for automobile traffic for the automobiles sector from August 5, 2020.
- Limit on the number of co-users in private siding removed for all sectors from August 18, 2020.
- All private sidings / good sheds / private freight terminals opened up for parcel traffic for parcels from August 18, 2020.
- Reduced composition for indented parcels extended till March 31, 2021 for parcels from August 18, 2020.
- Extension of timetabled parcel express till December 31, 2020 for parcels from June 19, 2020.
- Application fee for greenfield PFT reduced from Rs 10 Lakh to Rs 20,000 and completely waived off for conversion of siding to brownfield PFT for all sectors from August 24, 2020.
- 23 more two-point combinations opened for steel traffic for steel sector from August 25, 2020.
- Freight and parcel helpline through 13 for All sectors from August 26, 2020.
- Distance restriction on mini rakes of 1,500 km removed with a small surcharge for cement, iron and steel, food grains, fertilizers, bulk BOG from August 27, 2020.
Other Measures taken by Indian Railways to boost Freight Operations are as follows:
- Business development units (BDUs) set up at divisions, zones and board level.
- Restrictions on co-use of private sidings removed - 1,079 private sidings allowed to become private freight terminals effectively.
- 405 major good sheds being improved - concrete surface, bright LED lighting, better roads and labour facilities – to enable 3 shift operations.
- Timetabled parcel trains.
- Opening up of export traffic to Bangladesh for Parcels, containers and automobile.
- Kisan Rail introduced from Devlali (Nashik) to Danapur (Patna) on August 7, 2020 – multiple stoppages, multiple commodities, multiple parties – now extended to Muzaffarpur. Link train from Kolhapur to Manmad also added. Now bi-weekly from August 24, 2020. Total four trips have been completed till now.
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