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Railways expects growth in freight loading from second quarter

Railway minister Piyush Goyal says speed of freight trains have improved significantly, as passenger train movement was nil in April and limited in May

After a subdued freight loading during April-May due to the nationawide lockdown, Indian railways expect a year-on-year growth in movement of goods in the second quarter of the financial year, indicating a revival in economic activity.

“Yesterday, we moved 95% of the freight that we did on 21st June 2019. Taking June as a whole, from 1st-21st June, we are down by only 8%. From July, we should be at par. I am looking for growth from August September onwards," railway minister Piyush Goyal said at an industry event on Monday.

The minister also said that speed of freight trains have improved significantly, as passenger train movement nil in April and limited in May. “The average speed of freight train on 21st June 2019 was 22.98 km per hour. Yesterday, we clocked 41.74 km per hour," Goyal said.

“We are using this time intelligently to complete long awaited maintenance work , to inter connect many lines that needed long hours of shutdown and also using time to rewrite timetable of railways more intelligently, bringing freight trains and parcel trains into the timetable so that we can ensure committed delivery over long distances over short period of time," he said.

Meanwhile, member railway traffic P S Mishra in a separate briefing told reporters that core industrial outputs such as steel, cement, food grains, fertilizers saw an uptick in demand in June as compared with last year.

In April-May, earnings from movement of goods declined 38% year-on-year to 13,436 crore, railway ministry data showed. Freight traffic volume was down 28% during the period under consideration to 149 million tonne (MT).

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