Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Slight Traffic Upswing For Rail Freight

Indian Railways Report Increase but Delays and Corruption Still Endemic
Shipping News Feature

INDIA – Figures released by Indian Railways yesterday confirmed that freight traffic had increased slightly over the past few months. During December 1.65 million tonnes more cargo was carried than in the corresponding month the previous year bringing the months total to a fraction under 80 million tonnes representing a 2.11% increase.

In the period from April to December over 673 million tonnes of freight was moved against about 652 million tonnes for the same period in 2009. The 20.68 million tonne increase equates to an increase of 3.17%.

The future of rail freight in the subcontinent is still the subject of much discussion with many foreign investors worried about possible corruption as reported last August, when the Central Vigilance Commission began investigations into contracts being undertaken by the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Limited (DFCCIL) regarding allocation of permits for the East and West rail freight corridor developments. The legislation mentioned in that article resulted in the new anti corruption portal VIGEYE being launched on Anti Corruption Day (9th December) which has attracted accusations and information about numerous matters from several hundred whistleblowers already.

Delay to development is also often associated with intermodal freight corridor proposals mirroring those of passenger ventures, like the Kolkata Metro project which has dragged on for thirty seven years. The DFCCIL announced there would be a ‘Pre Qualification Meeting’ on the 22nd October last year, since when their website has not been updated.

Photo:- BNR engine at the National Rail Museum.