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Transportation of goods via Indian Railways bounced back in September, with freight loading rising 15.3 % on year at 102.12 million tonne (MT), indicating recovery in economic activity, Railway board chairman Vinod Kumar Yadav said on Thursday.

This was also driven by incremental loading of commodities such as coal, fertilizers, steel, cement and food grains, among others.

“Despite covid-19 challenges, Indian railways has taken many initiatives for business development and lot of initiatives were taken to boost freight loading and the result has come in September, which indicates that Indian economy is recovering and economic activity is picking up," Yadav said, adding that it is the first time that the national transporter’s loading has crossed 100 MT in any month.

Earnings witnessed a 13.5% year-on-year jump at 9,896 crore in September. Loading improved on a sequential basis as compared to 94.33 MT in August.

Freight traffic is considered to be an important macroeconomic indicator as it is a reflection of broad trends of economic activities, especially at a time when industrial activity is limping back to normalcy after over two months of a stringent lockdown.

However, during April-September, there was a 9% year-on-year decline in freight traffic at 533.29 MT, data released by the railway ministry showed.

“In the month of September 2020 Indian Railways loading was 102.12 million tonnes which includes 42.89 million tonnes of coal, 13.53 million tonnes of iron ore, 6.3 million tonnes of foodgrains, 5.34 million tonnes of fertilizers, 6.05 million tonnes of cement (excluding clinker), 3.85 million tonnes of clinker, and 3.52 million tonnes of mineral oil," an official statement said, adding that a number of concessions are being given by the national transporter to make freight movement attractive.

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