Aiming to achieve a modal share of 20 percent by the end of 2021-22 and 30 percent by 2023-24 in transportation of automobiles, Union Minister for Railways, Commerce & Industry, Consumer Affairs and Food & Public Distribution Piyush Goyal has met the automobile industry leaders, Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) and others. The minister asked them to partner with Indian Railways to facilitate transportation of automobiles.
At the meeting, Goyal highlighted the government’s steps to facilitate automobile loading in the railways. In the past six months, amid the COVID-19 lockdown, Indian Railways has loaded 836 rakes of automobiles against 731 rakes in the previous year.
Automobile sales may fall 20-25% this fiscal: Ind-Ra.
While in 2013-14, the total loading of automobiles through the railways was only 429 rakes, which increased to 1,595 rakes in 2019-20.
Here are a few steps that Goyal cited to facilitate automobile loading:
1) The haulage charges for BCACBM rakes have not been revised since May 2013.
2) The freight for NMGs has not been revised since May 2018.
3) There has been an increase in the number of NMG rakes – from 30 (on April 1) to 42
4) Two-destination loading has been permitted in NMG rakes.
5) Export of automobiles has been permitted:
i) Traffic to Bangladesh started in NMG rakes.
ii) Traffic to Nepal started, via Nautanva terminal (NE Railway).
6) Seven new terminals opened for automobile loading. They include – Chitpur (ER), Penukonda (SWR), Nasrala (NR), Nautanva (NER) – for traffic to Nepal; Salchapara, Furkating, & New Tinsukia (all NFR).
7) 52 railway terminals are currently available.
8) All private sidings, PFTs, and ICDs can now handle automobile traffic.
The minister assured the representative of SIAM, Tata Motors, Hyundai Motors, Ford Motors, Mahindra & Mahindra, Honda India, and Maruti Suzuki Ltd, and others about the government’s latest willingness to facilitate automobile loading.
Meanwhile, Railway Board Chairman VK Yadav in July had said Indian Railways’ freight traffic dropped 21 percent during the Q1 of FY 2020-21 to 241 million tonnes (mt). Its earnings from freight also saw a 31 percent fall to Rs 22,266 crore for the April-June period.
Also, rating agency Ind-Ra had earlier predicted that automobile sales in India are most likely to see a decline by 20-25 percent this fiscal against its earlier forecast of 22-25 percent on account of increasing preference for personal mobility.