Witnessing decline in transport of coal, Indian Railways is targeting a five-fold increase in its share of transporting automobiles by 2025. According to official data, the total coal transported by railways stood at nearly 606 million tonnes in 2018-19 and as per the revised estimate of 2019-20, it’s set to reduce to 592 million tonnes.
Admitting that decline in transportation of coal is a concern for the national transporter, railway board chairman V K Yadav recently said it was a good sign for the country as a whole. He said renewable and green energy generation had become the priority and new thermal power plants were coming up in the vicinity of coal mines. “These have impacted our freight traffic. So, we need to focus on new areas.
The five-year vision document of the railway ministry says the current share of automobiles transported through trains is barely 10%. There is good potential to increase transportation of automobiles, particularly cars from factory gates to ports. Currently, the bulk of automobile transportation, particularly cars and two wheelers, is through the road network where they are transported from factories to showrooms across the country.
“I recently visited Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust and assessed how we can attract more of this segment of cargo,” Yadav said. According to the budget document, freight loading by railways in 2019-20 is likely to be 1,223 million tonnes by March and nearly 50% of this is coal. But during 2020-21, this share is estimated to reduce to 40%.