To boost its falling earnings and compete with road transport, the Indian Railways has decided to offer discounts to customers who book ‘round-trips’ for freight haulage. Ministry of Railways writes to zonal managers, stating that the railways must start competing with road transports who offer round-trip discounts on goods.

In a letter dated 5 June, the Ministry of Railways said: “An analysis of traffic moving by road has revealed that there are a number of flows which involve movement of such commodities that can also move by rail.”

The policy will be applicable from 1 July 2020 and remain valid for a year until 30 June 2021.

“One of the reasons cited for traffic moving by road in origin-destinations served by Railways is that road hauliers offer customers a discount when traffic is assured in both directions. Given the fact that a considerable percentage of railways’ rakes run back empty after unloading, it is felt that railway should also incentivise/encourage round-trip traffic, and hence this policy,” the letter stated.

“In case any customer (consignor) commits to offer traffic in the right direction i.e. back to the originating station, either from the destination station or from any point within 200 km of the destination station, then traffic for both outward and return traffic shall be charged at lower of the applicable class rates amongst the outward and return direction traffic,” the ministry’s new scheme states.

“This shall be subject to the condition that loading in return direction begins within 24 hours of the release of outward rake at its destination.”

Source:- Daily Shipping Times