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“Source:- Rail News”
NEW DELHI: Citing economic slump and to give a boost to the economy, Railways on Thursday decided to suspend the busy season surcharge for all freight traffic and said during the last five months it did more business as compared to the last year, but the growth is not what it expected. Member Traffic (Railways) P S Mishra told a press conference at the Railway Bhavan that the levy of Busy Season Charge, which is levied at the rate of 15 per cent from October 1- June 30, has been deferred till further advise (except for iron ore and POL). Coal and coke and container traffic are already exempt. Railways also plans to increase the flow of rakes for auto companies to increase freight traffic contribution from the sector. Details of these measures announced by Member (Traffic) are as under:

Freight rate related measures:

Levy of Busy Season Charge Deferred:

  • BSC, which is levied @ 15% from 1 Oct-30 June, has been deferred till further advice (Except for iron ore and POL).
  • Coal & coke and container traffic are already exempt.

Waiver of Supplementary charges on Mini and Two point rakes:

  • The 5% Supplementary charges applicable on Loading on Mini and Two point rakes is being waived off.
  • This is likely to boost loading of Smaller cargo sizes and help cement, steel, food grains and fertilizers loading.

Round-trip charging on container traffic:

  • As per haulage charge rating of container traffic, 0-50 km is the minimum distance slab for charging.
  • It is seen that container traffic in this ultra short lead (0-50 km) is very low at present.
  • Therefore, round-trip charging of container trip has been introduced for a distance of less than 50 km on each way.
  • Under this scheme, haulage charge for 0-100 km slab will be charged for total to and fro movement, instead of charging for 0-50 km slab each way.
  • Impact- this comes out to be about  35% cheaper per TEU for the complete round-trip
  • It is expected to especially give a fillip to EXIM traffic between ports and Inland Container Depots.

Discount on movement of empty containers and empty flat wagons

  • A discount of 25% discount in haulage charge of containers has been given to encourage movement of empty/flat to ports; thereby increasing loaded container traffic in return
  • It is expected to enhance price-competitiveness of Railway vis-a-vis other modes of transport and expand freight basket by capturing new traffic.

Large-scale de-notification of commodities for container traffic

  • As per container haulage charging policy, notified commodities are charged at Container Class Rates (CCR), which is 15% lower than General Tariff Rates (GTR). Rest of the commodities are charged at Freight All Kind (FAK) rates, which are even lower than CCR.
  • Recently, 90 more commodities have been de-notified, which brought down their haulage charge from CCR to FAK rates.
  • Now, out of total 635 commodities in Goods Tariff, only 38 commodities are under notified/CCR rates (11 of these are POL commodities).

Auto sector’s demand

Mr. Mishra added that the Railways would be increasing the number of rakes for transportation of automobiles from eight to 26, and gradually to 50 rakes by the end of this financial year. “This is being done on the request of the auto sector. We have very limited presence in auto which we are trying to increase,” he said.

He added that at the industry’s request, Indian Railways was also working on a special wagon design for transportation of four wheelers as well as two wheelers as more traffic was expected from the sector despite the slump there. Mr. Mishra expects to increase the present share of 2% in loading auto freight, to around 8-10% by the end of this fiscal.

Freight Marketing initiatives:

  • Induction of more New Modified Goods  car rakes and introduction of new design of Bi level auto car wagons (BCACBM wagons).
  • Rationalization of Road Railer with 4 new weight slabs instead of earlier 3 weight slabs. More competitive rates.
  • Weight and weighment conditions relaxed in perishable traffic  when loaded in goods wagons

Measures to enhance ease of business and digitisation

  1. Pan-India Implementation of eT-RR
  • Facility of Electronic Transmission of Railway Receipts (eT-RR) has been successfully implemented across the country wef 01.08.2019
  • eT-RR is user-friendly and paperless transaction system where Railway Receipt is generated and transmitted electronically to customer through Freight Operation Information System (FOIS). Delivery of goods is given through e-surrender of eT-RR. That is, customer is saved the hassle of carrying physical Railway Receipt from originating to destination station
  • This facility is expected to bring down the transaction costs of rail customers, and also pave the way for greater digitisation.
  1. Weighment-related reforms
  • Pre-weigh bin system for weighment of goods traffic has been permitted in private sidings. This is expected to bring down the time for Weighment and loading, and also bring in higher accuracy in Weighment. It shall go a long way in redressing the issues related to Weighment.
  • As per earlier policy, if a second Weighment of wagons was done, the higher of the two reading was considered final for charging or levy of penalty.  Now, the policy has been modified to state that second weighment will be considered final for charging. This policy change makes the provision of second weighment meaningful and is expected to redress customers’ grievance in accuracy of Weighment.
  • Low density commodities like Pet Coke, Met Coke, Chuni and De-oiled cake have also been exempted from mandatory weighment. This is likely to save transit time and increase fluidity, which translate in to cost saving for customers also.
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