Indian Railways move to a modern logistic provider?
BUSINESS ECONOMICS|August 16-31, 2019

In India, road networks have enjoyed the primary share for inland freight traffic in comparison to railways.

Ankit Singh

The share of railways for freight traffic has dropped to 33% from 90% in the 1950s. Currently, the role of the Indian Railways has been limited as a bulk commodity supplier of coal, iron ore, fertilizers and cement.

The cost for construction of rail networks is comparatively less in comparison to construction of roadways. Even the quotient of energy consumption in railways is less as compared to road networks. These above-stated factors wellplace railways as a preferred choice for logistics and goods transport. But then, why has the Indian Railways' role been limited?

When compared to road networks, the Indian Railways has been perceived to be more conducive for supply of bulk commodities. A source from the Eastern Railways informed BE, “In comparison to roads, the carbon footprint is less for railways. Bulk transportation of loose commodities like coal and iron-ore are highly polluting. To move these commodities beyond 500 km by trucks, they should be in a washed condition to limit their polluting quotient. In such a scenario, railways are the preferred networks for bulk supply of these commodities.”

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