The national transporter is expecting only 10-15% earnings from the passenger segment, which means there will be a loss in potential earnings of around Rs 35,000-40,000 crore.
COVID-19 impact on Indian Railways: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this fiscal, Indian Railways is expecting a Rs 35,000-40,000 crore reduction in earnings from the passenger segment, according to a PTI report. To make up for the loss, Railway Board Chairman VK Yadav said the national transporter is trying to augment freight revenue. Despite the challenges posed by the novel coronavirus outbreak, Indian Railways has managed to load 3.13 MT of goods on July 27 as compared to 3.12 MT of goods on the same date last year. However, till now, the overall loading of freight train services remains 18.18% less than last year, according to the report. Yadav said that the national transporter is expecting only 10-15% earnings from the passenger segment, which means there will be a loss in potential earnings of around Rs 35,000-40,000 crore.
According to Yadav, in the current fiscal, the national transporter has set a target of achieving 50% more freight loading as compared to the year 2019-2020. To make freight services more attractive for customers, a number of concessions as well as discounts are being given by the Indian Railways since last year. Indian Railways stated that on July 27, 1,039 rakes were loaded with freight including 67 rakes of fertilizer, 76 rakes of foodgrain, 49 rakes of steel, 113 rakes of iron ore, 363 rakes of coal and 113 rakes of cement. Yadav said the national transporter has achieved record loading of foodgrains, 80% more than last year. Also, time-tabled parcel services have been introduced, he said.
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On July 27, the average speed of freight train services was 46.16 km per hour. This is more than double as compared to last year’s average speed of 22.52 km per hour for the same date. The average speed of freight trains in the month of July was 45.03 km per hour, which is nearly double compared to last year’s average speed of 23.22 km per hour for the same month.
According to Yadav, the improvements in the movement of freight trains will be institutionalized as well as incorporated in the upcoming zero-based time table. By introducing the zero-based time table, Indian Railways will see a dedicated corridor for freight trains as well as passenger trains. Also, multi-disciplinary business development units have been set up at the Railway Board and zonal levels. Moreover, in order to draw newer clients from the industry, the business development teams will advertise, give wide publicity for generating demand as well as formulate traffic development proposals.