Facing a decline in loadings demand, railways is mulling various options including entering into untapped areas like auto and FMCG to increase freight revenue.
“The need of the hour is to enter new areas to expand the freight operation in a significant way,” said a senior Railway Ministry official, adding, “The aim is to enter into untapped areas.”
Some of the proposals, including tapping automobile and FMCG sectors in a big way, are likely to come up in Rail Budget 2016-17.
Currently, railways mainly carries commodities such as coal, iron ore, steel, cement, minerals, fertilisers and food grains.
However, there are no demands for steel, cement and coal due the various reasons. Food grains loadings were also affected due to change in the policy.
“So we have to look for new areas potential sectors like tapping the automobile and FMCG sectors in a big way. In fact we have listed about 46 commodities where we can explore doing business,” he said.
He said door-to-door transportation of goods using road railers is being actively considered. Road railers are capable of movement on road and rail.
Railways’ trial run for the road railers is over and the road railers service will be introduced on the Delhi-Chennai route.
Reaching out to industry in the run up to Rail Budget, railways has undertaken series of talks with stakeholders seeking their suggestions to arrest the declining freight operation.