Coal India on Wednesday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Indian Railways for investing Rs 5000 crore for the procurement of 2,000 wagons to meet its rising transportation needs. The move came as the production of the company has grown by 8.8% during April-November 2015 and it’s aiming to achieve its target of producing 1 billion tonnes of coal by 2020.
According to the MOU signed, CIL intends to make an initial investment of Rs 500 crore which will go up to Rs 5000 crore in order to procure 2000 wagons with 25 tonne axle load capacity. India Railways has already modified the 22.9 tonne axle load BOXN wagons to the newly designed 25 tonne axle load wagons with 9% extra carrying capacity and is all set to introduce 5000 such wagons by February next year. The newly designed wagons will help the transporter carry an additional 5,800 tonnes of coal per rake.
“Almost 70% of the coal consumed in the country including imported coal is transported by rail. Coal accounts for almost 50% of IR’s freight basket and 43% of its freight revenues,” Mohammad Jamshed, Member Traffic said. “In the current year up to November growth of 2.6% in coal loading has been achieved despite less demand for transportation of imported coal and delays in mining from captive blocks allocated to power utilities of Punjab, Karnataka and West Bengal,” he added. Indian Railways transported around 545 million tonnes of coal in FY 15 and is looking at carrying around 585 million tonnes of coal in FY 16.
The national transporter was loading an average of 186 rakes of coal from Coal India sidings till the end of November in 2014-15. Railway officials state that in the current year the loading from Coal India sidings has increased to 205 rakes per day an increase by 10.3% during April-November,2015.
The wagons which will be procured by Indian Railways on behalf of CIL will be made available exclusively to meet CIL’s transportation needs.The route decided for deploying these wagons will be from MCL Talcher to Paradip Port, Dharma Port and Vishakapatnam area on the East Coast and from IB Valley Coal Field and Korba area to powerhouses of Nagpur and Raipur area on South East Central Railway.
Railway officials state that the coordinated effort between the Ministry of Railways and CIL have resulted in coal stocks with power plants reaching an unprecedented level of 30 million tonnes up to December 2015 as against 10 million tonnes last year. “On date none of the rail fed power housed are shown as ‘critical or ‘super critical’ as per the report of Central Electricity Authority and around 40 rail fed power houses are presently having coal stocks of 30 days or more,” Piyush Goyal, Minister of State with Independent Charge for Power, Coal and New& Renewable Energy said.