An Indian Railways goods train | Photo: ANI
An Indian Railways goods train (representational image) | ANI
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New Delhi: In the first signs of resumption of economic activity in the country following the lockdown to curb spread of Covid-19, the Railways’ freight loading data has shown a sharp rebound in the early days of June, ThePrint has learnt.

According to sources in the Railways, against the cumulative shortfall of 32.3 per cent in the goods earnings during the current fiscal year, the shortfall has narrowed down to 14.87 per cent during the first 10 days of June 2020.

This comes after the freight earnings of the national transporter had dropped by Rs 8,283 crore in the months of April and May in comparison to the same period last year. The lockdown was imposed on 25 March.

“The Prime Minister has recently said that the green shoots of economy are becoming stronger … This is evident from the freight loading data that has emerged for the month of June,” a railway official said. “The uptrend in terms of originating freight loading tonnage is even more encouraging.” Originating freight load refers to the freight load the railways earns revenue for. It’s common for freight load to be reloaded either due to routes being blocked or a train being diverted for other reasons, but the railways doesn’t earn revenue on this, the official explained.

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How freight earnings did compared to last year

According to data available with the ministry, the originating freight loading during the first 10 days of June 2020 is 30.77 MT compared to 33.17 MT during the corresponding period last year. The shortfall has narrowed down to 7.24 per cent in June.

While before June, only the Northern Railway reported higher freight loading compared to 2019 because of increased loading of food grains, in the first 10 days of June, six zonal railways have reported higher freight loading.

Overall, in April and May, the Railways had loaded 147.69 MT of goods, and earned Rs 13,412.09 crore. In the same period in 2019, it had loaded 205.81 MT of goods, and earned a revenue of Rs 21,695.61 crore.

The lockdown had hit the transporter’s earnings drastically, but the sector was already grappling with a loss of Rs 2,129 crore in 2019-20 in comparison to the previous year.

As reported by ThePrint Wednesday, in order to boost its falling earnings and compete with road transport, the Indian Railways decided to offer discounts to customers who book ‘round-trips’ for freight haulage, a new policy that kicks in effect from 1 July.

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  1. This is not a sign of economic recovery as the author has put it. The freight and logistics sectors are traditional recession-proof sectors. They always grow for the simple reason that good have to be moved!

    While the data supporting the story seems to be supporting the story it might have been misinterpreted for ‘economic recovery’.

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