Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on Thursday outlined a three-pronged approach to help Railways regain its market share in freight haulage. From a high of close to 80 percent in 1951, Railways' share of freight has fallen below 20 percent.
A combination of congested rail networks and a steady rise in freight rates to offset the losses in passenger revenues is to blame for this trend.
This is what Suresh Prabhu proposes to do:Expanding the freight basket of Indian Railways
: To start time-tabled freight container, parcel and special commodity trains on a pilot basis. The container sector would be opened to all traffic barring coal, specified mineral ores and part-loads during the non-peak season. All existing terminals/sheds would be granted access to container traffic, where considered feasible.Rationalising the tariff structure:
Undertake review of tariff policy to evolve a competitive rate structure vis a vis other modes, permit multi-point loading/unloading and apply differentiated tariffs to increase utilization of alternate routes, explore possibility of signing long term tariff contracts with key freight customers using pre-determined price escalation principles.Building terminal capacity:
To develop Rail side logistics parks and warehousing
in public private partnership (PPP) mode, 10 goods sheds will be developed by TRANSLOC, the Transport Logistics Company of India, in 2016-17. Encourage development of cold storage facilities on vacant land near freight terminals. Local
farmers and fisherman would be given preferential usage of the facility.
In additions, the Railways plans to nuture customers by appointing key Customer Managers to liaison with major freight stakeholders. Each Zonal Railway will develop customer commitment charter indicating service level commitments of IR, will explore the feasibility of opening up leasing of general purpose wagons.