Railway freight, cargo handled at government ports show signs of recovery

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NEW DELHI: Indian Railways registered a double digit growth in freight loading (11.4%) in this month till Wednesday compared to the same period last year. Similarly, there are signs of recovery of cargo being handled at the 12 major ports in the past two months, which are under the Central government. After registering the maximum fall in traffic in May of around -22.2%, last month the gap narrowed to nearly -16.6%.
The data available on Rail Drishti dashboard of railway ministry, show that railways loaded nearly 26 million tonnes (MTs) of freight as on Wednesday.

Since April a total of 457 MTs of freight was loaded, which was 12.2% less than the same period during 2019-20. The major saviour has been the loading of foodgrain, flours and pulses, which has increased by 85%, thanks to the government decision to provide free foodgrains to the poor.
On the revenue front, railways have registered positive growth during this month. The official data show that there has been a 9% increase in revenue from freight movement, which is close to Rs 2,490 crore crore during September.

However, the railways is yet to bridge the revenue shortfall in the freight segment during this financial year which was impacted due to Covid. The total revenue from the segment till Wednesday was around Rs 42,758 crore, which is nearly 21% less than last year.
So far as the cargo handling at major ports is concerned, there has been a significant increase in the cargo falling under the iron ore category. While in April to May period, the growth was 14.4% over the previous year, in April to August period it increased by nearly 27%.

Similarly, in the raw cargo segment while the growth in April-May period was -14%, during April-August period it increased to 3%.
There has also been steady improvement in the number of containers being handled at these ports.

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