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Iron ore has been the game changer

Iron ore has been the game changer
Highlights

More than seventy per cent of income for the railway comes from freight earnings. SCR never loaded iron ore but once we started in June 2014 there was no looking back. What started with nine rakes per day went up to 25 rakes a day. Loading iron ore has been a game changer.

South Central Railway continues to rake in impressive freight revenues and ranks among the best in the country

The growth in loading of freight by SCR is amongst the best. Tell us how this happened?

More than seventy per cent of income for the railway comes from freight earnings. SCR never loaded iron ore but once we started in June 2014 there was no looking back. What started with nine rakes per day went up to 25 rakes a day. Loading iron ore has been a game changer.

A ship brings in a load of 50,000 tons of iron ore and it would need 10-12 trains to unload a ship at one go. SCR managed to do this. The number of rakes kept increasing in July last year it was 96 rakes, in August it rose to 240 and by September it touched 310 a month.

Did a shift in approach help? SCR reached out to clients.

A corporate like approach did help. Goods were sent to places where clients wanted. The Jindal group wanted iron ore at Bellary and SCR was able to deliver at the mouth of the plant. Rationalisation of operational practices, intensive marketing, and the ability to suck in empties, for instance, the number of empties from Balharshah was taken care off. Smart management coupled with rising demand at Krishnapatnam and Kakinada ports helped.

Krishnapatnam port is turning to be a golden goose for SCR. If a new zone is created the port would not be a part of SCR. Your comments

Krishnapatnam port is indeed a money spinner. The initiatives at the port led to a23 per cent growth. Several plants in India that used to import coal from Pipapav and Mundra ports are now turning to Krishnapatnam port. The plants are saving 18 dollors per ton by unloading at Krishnapatnam. The overall import cost has reduced.

There is a huge market for granite in China and a lot of it is being exported from Karimnagar. Coal, petrol oil, lubricants and other products too are being loaded. As far as the second question is concerned, if the railway board feels that there is a need for operational changes a new zone would be created.

Any headway on MMTS connectivity to Rajiv Gandhi International airport?

It makes sense to connect to passenger terminal at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport. A taxi costs Rs 1200, bus Rs 400 while a train would cost just Rs 25. A solution should be found, land could be leased out to the Railways. It is a case of so near but yet so far. We hope that something comes about as it would benefit passengers.

There are no new projects in this year’s budget. Are you disappointed?

On the contrary we are happy. It is better to complete projects than just add on too many and head nowhere. Funds are sanctioned for last mile projects such as the Peddapally-Nizamabad line and Yerraguntla-Nandyal line.

By:T P Venu

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