New Delhi: With the loading target exceeding 1007 million tonnes (MT) by the end of March, Railways today entered the select group of billion plus club in freight movement with China, Russia and USA.
"We transported about 1010 MT freight as against the target of 1007 MT for 2012-13," a senior Railway Ministry official said, adding, "With this we are now part of the billion plus group in the world."
In March alone, railways carried 99 MT goods as against an average of 80 MT to 85 MT being carried every month. While USA carried 1380 MT, Russia's loading was 1200 MT and China touched 1100 MT mark in 2012-13.
Last year, railways had marginally failed to achieve the loading target as the national transporter could carry 969.8 MT against the target of 970 MT.
Congratulating railwaymen for the achievement, Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said, "It is really creditable to achieve this significant freight loading despite present economic scenario the world over."
He said Indian Railways will play the role of engine of growth for country's economy.
Attributing the achievement to the surge in demand for coal, the official said, "Special effort was made to ensure transport of coal to power houses as the demand started increasing from July 2012. The demand for cement, iron ore and steel loading was also picked up later."
Coal movement, crucial for freight, constitute 42 percent of total loadings of railways followed by cement (24 percent) iron ore (21 percent) and steel (14 percent).
Admitting it as a challenging task as there was slowdown in goods traffic during May, June and the first fortnight of July, the official said there were about 300 rakes lying idle during the period.
"We increased the average speed of freight trains from 22 km to 37 km per hour and also added more wagons per rake from 50 to 58 as we focused on heavier, longer and faster movement of trains," the official said.
Railways has kept the loading target at 1047 MT for the fiscal 2013-14.
"We are hopeful of achieving this target also as there would be greater foodgrain movement as the government is planning to legislate food security bill in coming months," he said.
First Published: Monday, April 1, 2013, 23:14