Rail Budget 2016: Focus on expanding freight basket, rationalising tariff, building capacity

Published: February 26, 2016 12:18:41 AM

Rail Budget 2016: With revenues under pressure, Railway Board member (traffic) Mohd Jamshed explains the new initiatives that the national transporter is going to take in order to regain its market share in freight transportation and the plan to increase its freight basket in 2016-17.

Rail Budget 2016: With revenues under pressure, Railway Board member (traffic) Mohd Jamshed explains the new initiatives that the national transporter is going to take in order to regain its market share in freight transportation and the plan to increase its freight basket in 2016-17. Excerpts from the interview:

With economic growth lower than anticipated, how do you plan to regain your market share and meet loading targets?
After a detailed discussion with different stakeholders, our focus for this fiscal will be on three major fronts: Rationalising tariff, expanding our freight basket and building terminal capacity. We used to focus only on 10 bulk commodities but now we are expanding our base to cater to around 40 additional commodities. Another area where we are expecting a good response is ‘roll–on and roll–off’, which will provide better connectivity and end-to-end services. For the first time, we will be introducing time-tabled goods trains. In the pilot phase, it will transfer containers, parcels and special commodities

The previous Budget talked about setting up a logistics company called TRANSLOC. Will it materialise in FY17?
Yes, the Transport Logistic Company of India will be operational in FY17 and we are working on developing 10 goods sheds. Warehousing and transportation being a major concern, we are also going to develop rail side logistics parks and warehousing through the PPP route. Through all these measures, we will be providing last mile connectivity and reducing logistic cost.

What does tariff rationalisation involve?
We had out-priced ourselves in the market due to which there has been a decline in our market share. We have already started reviewing our tariff policy to be more competitive in the market. We will be introducing differential tariffs and long term tariff contracts besides other measures, we are not looking at increasing the tariff as we do not want it to affect the common man.

Is the dip in passenger bookings a cause of concern?
It should not be a problem. Mainly in 2014 when we announced to hike passenger fares a lot of people booked tickets in advance which sort of impacted the expected increase in passenger receipts. Besides that, many trains where cancelled and delayed due to the burning of route relay interlocking system at Itarsi. With a major focus on passenger amenities and augmentation of trains, we will meet our targets for FY17.

By Mohd Jamshed, Railway Board member (traffic)

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