Indian Railways transported 122.14 million tonnes (mt) freight in July, marking an 8.25 per cent increase against the same period last year as it ferries coal to power plants.
Freight volumes fell by over 3 mt compared to June, prompting to experts say that is usually due to a slight taper in economic activity from the peak summer months.
The year-on-year (YoY) growth of 9.3 MT was largely due to a near one-fourth increase in coal supply, which was railways its top priority during the fuel crisis in the country. Iron ore, which is the second biggest commodity in the freight basket, has failed to grow for the fourth consecutive month this fiscal.
“Indian Railways has achieved an incremental loading of 11.54 MT in Coal, followed by 1.22 MT in Balance other goods, 0.56 MT each in Cement & Clinker and Containers and 0.47 MT in POL (petroleum products),” said a statement by the railways ministry.
The ministry said that loading of coal (both domestic and imported) to thermal power plants increased by 13.2 mt in July, with 47.98 coal being moved to powerhouses as against 34.74 mt last year. That is a growth of 38 per cent.
With the July volumes, the transporter has recorded a near 11 per cent increase in cumulative freight loading this financial year. Notably, the ministry’s internal target for the year is 1700 mt, roughly 20 per cent more than what it achieved in 2021-22.
As the railways transports raw material produced across the country, it sees an opportunity for scaling up in finished goods. The miscellaneous goods segment of railways saw another month of double-digit annual growth rate, at 13.25 per cent.
Railways has stepped up its transportation of automobiles, too. Between April and July, it transported 1698 rakes of automobiles, growing by almost a third against the same period last year. The automobile industry is one of the most significant manufacturing sectors and automakers largely rely on road transport for ferrying vehicles, especially four-wheelers.
‘Business Standard’ previously reported that the railways also undertook a first-of-its-kind exercise to transport cars using dedicated freight corridors, in a bid to show its competitiveness as a preferred automobile mover.