Railways expecting sharp rise in cement loading

BUSY YARD: Rice bags being unloaded from a goods wagon at the Goods Yard in Tiruchi on Thursday. —

BUSY YARD: Rice bags being unloaded from a goods wagon at the Goods Yard in Tiruchi on Thursday. —   | Photo Credit: Photo: R. Ashok

R. Rajaram

Two cement plants expected to go on stream by December

Railways aiming at Rs. 170 crore revenue through freight loading

Freight loading to cross 10-million-tonne mark in 2010-11

TIRUCHI: With new cement plants coming up at neighbouring Ariyalur and existing units enhancing their production capacity, Tiruchi divisional railway authorities expect a sharp increase in cement loading in the current fiscal.

Cement is a major commodity next only to coal which is being transported in huge quantities through rail, enabling the Tiruchi Railway Division to generate substantial revenue.

During 2007-08 fiscal, the total freight loading in Tiruchi Division was 4.86 million tonne thereby generating a revenue of Rs. 120 crore. Coal and cement loadings accounted for the maximum with 2.48 million tonne and 1.57 million tonne respectively. The share of foodgrains loading was 0.6 million tonne and others, which included fertiliser and sugar, came to around 0.2 million tonne.

The divisional railway authorities expect a further increase in overall freight loading in the current fiscal. “We are aiming at originating a loading of 6.1 million tonne,” says Divisional Railway Manager R.C. Jat.

Drastic increase

Though the authorities foresee a rise in coal loading in the current year too, they are also upbeat on a drastic increase in cement loading. They are confident that cement loading would increase to 2.25 million tonnes as two new private plants are expected to go on stream anytime between September and December.

With the third private plant expected to be commissioned by June next year, railway officials are confident that the total freight loading would cross the 10-million-tonne mark in 2010-11.

Among the manufacturers, Dalmia Cements, Madras Cements and India Cements are the major customers for the Tiruchi Railway Division, say railway officials here.

Various schemes had been launched by the railway over the years to attract the cement manufacturers to transport their product by rail, which was cheaper in comparison with road especially when it was being moved to longer destinations.

Cement is being transported by rail to Kerala, Bangalore, Mysore, Chennai, Madurai and Coimbatore from Tiruchi Division which ranked second after Chennai Division in goods loading in 2007-08.

The authorities are aiming at a revenue of around Rs. 170 crore through freight loading in the current year, which if achieved would be Rs. 50 crore more than the previous year.

Mr. Jat said the Division moved 622 goods trains carrying cement last year.

This year, they expect it to increase to 900 goods trains.

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