Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Sunday, Feb 27, 2005
To tide over wagon crunch Railways to focus on faster turnaround time
New Delhi , Feb. 26
THE Indian Railways has decided to improve the turnaround time of wagons in a bid to tide over the wagon crunch.
"The turnaround time of wagons has reduced from 7 days to 6.3 days. This means for carrying the same level of traffic we require 10 per cent less wagons. We are planning to reduce the turnaround time to five days in the next 2-3 years," Mr P.N. Garg, Member (Mechanical) Railway Board, said here on Saturday.
The Railways is currently holding close to four lakh wagons and for 2005-06 it has fixed a wagon procurement target for 23,300 four-wheelers. But, given the track record of the past three years, this looks ambitious.
In 2002-03, against a target of 17,000 four-wheelers, the Railways could procure 16,584 wagons, while in 2003-04, it procured 16,573 wagons, against a target of 18,500 wagons.
In 2004-05, the Railways had fixed a procurement target of 20,000 wagons.
To encourage public-private partnership in procurement of wagons for meeting the anticipated incremental freight traffic in the coming years, the Railways has decided to introduce a new scheme christened "Wagon Investment Scheme".
As per the scheme, customers investing in railway wagons will be assured supply of a guaranteed number of rakes every month on the basis of the number of rakes procured and the turnaround time of wagons, which will be over and above the normal supply of rakes to such customers.
To make the scheme attractive to customers, the Railways has decided to allow a 10 per cent rebate in freight for BOXN wagons for 10 years and BCN wagons up to 15 years.
It hasalso liberalised the terms and conditions of the "engine-on-load" (EOL) scheme introduced in the last Budget to ensure faster release and better availability of wagons.
Accordingly, the permissible free time for loading is being increased from three to four hours for bulk commodities and from five to six hours for bagged consignments.
Further, a cash incentive will be given by way of encashment of credit hours available at the end of every quarter to be adjusted as a rebate in freight payable in the following quarter. A higher preference within the same class of priority will be accorded in supply of rakes to the EOL customers. This will be in the form of two additional rakes per month, but there will be no freight rebate on these additional rakes.
The EOL scheme is also being extended to selected goods sheds and for customers not having their own private sidings.
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