Freight revenue of Indian Railways jumped 11 per cent in the first 13 days of October from a year earlier to Rs 4,124 crore, underscoring renewed economic activity and rising demand after the disruptions from the coronavirus pandemic. Freight volume during the period rose 18 per cent from a year earlier to 43.46 million tonnes (mt), according to data released by the railway ministry. Volumes grew amid increased loading of commodities such as coal, cement, fertilizers, steel and food grains. Cement and coal comprise more than half of freight movement volumes for Indian Railways.
During 1-13 October, the railways carried 19.13 mt of coal, rising from 17.20 mt a year ago. A total of 4.36 mt of cement was transported during the period, up from 3.28 mt a year ago. Also, 126 automobile rakes were loaded in October, compared to 74 rakes last year.
According to the ministry, the average loading of 53,774 wagons per day marked a 16.5 per cent increase from a year ago. Freight traffic in the fiscal first half fell 9 per cent from a year earlier to 533 mt, while earnings declined 17 per cent to Rs 50,185 crore. Freight loading and revenue began to rise gradually from August, after a sharp drop in the fiscal first quarter due to the nationwide lockdown and turbulence from covid-19.
Freight traffic is considered an important macroeconomic indicator, highlighting the broader trend of economic activity. Earlier this month, the government said economic recovery gained momentum in September.