The Indian Railways on Friday said that its total freight loading for financial year 2020-21 had surpassed that of the previous fiscal.
Addressing a press conference here, Railway Board Chairman and CEO Suneet Sharma said it is a huge achievement given the coronavirus pandemic had disrupted rail movement.
"In 2020-21, the railways loaded 1,145.68 MT of goods as compared to 1,145.61 MT last year.
"It gives us a great boost and proves how the railways has continued to be the driving force of the economy," he said.
He said that the increased amount was "despite the coronavirus crisis which had pushed us into a deficit of 70 MT from April to July".
Hailing railway employees, he said that the initiatives taken by them at the zonal and divisional levels helped the national transporter to increase its freight basket.
He stated that on a month-to-month basis, up to March 11 this year, Indian Railways' loading was 43.43 million tonnes, which is 10 per cent higher than the 39.33 million tonnes in the corresponding period last year.
The Railway Board Chairman also said that the average speed of freight trains in the month of March 2021 till now was 45.49 kmph which is almost double compared to 23.29 kmph in the same period last year.
"It is worth mentioning that a number of concessions/discounts are also being given in Indian Railways to make rail freight movement very attractive. The strong emergence of business development units in zones and divisions, constant dialogue with the industry and logistics service providers, faster speed are adding to the robust growth of freight business for the Railways," he added.