Freight traffic performance of Indian Railways (IR) remained weak for the second consecutive month in December 2015. It carried 94.6 million tonnes of revenue-earning freight as compared to 95.5 million tonnes in December 2014, translating into a year-on-year (y-o-y) fall of 0.9 per cent. This resulted in a hit on the Railways' freight earnings in December, which stood at Rs 9,442 crore, down 3.4 per cent y-o-y.
Last month, freight traffic stood at 87.6 million tonnes, a slide of around 4 per cent from November 2014.
Indian Railways saw a fall in volumes of most commodities. The sharpest fall of 9.9 per cent was witnessed in fertiliser freight. Railways handled 4.4 million tonnes of fertiliser cargo during the month.
Freight traffic of coal, the largest commodity carried, declined by a minuscule 0.3 per cent. The commodity's freight volumes fell to 48.8 million tonnes during the month. Coal traffic to thermal power plants grew by 0.5 per cent to 34.1 million tonnes.
Cement freight stood at 8.7 million tonnes as against 9.1 million tonnes in December 2014, decreasing by 4.2 per cent.
Iron ore freight volumes increased by 4.3 per cent to 9.5 million tonnes, becoming the second-largest commodity carried. Freight traffic of iron ore meant for other domestic uses declined by 5.2 per cent.
Apart from iron ore, IR witnessed a rise in freight of only two other commodities - POL (petroleum, oil and lubricants) and raw material for steel plants. POL freight grew to 3.8 million tonnes, 5.3 per cent higher than the year-ago month. Meanwhile, freight loading of raw material for steel plants rose by 3.2 per cent to 1.6 million tonnes.
During April-December 2015, freight traffic on IR was up by 1 per cent to 816.7 million tonnes as compared to April-December 2014.