The Railways has rolled out a new policy governing allocation of rakes and transportation of iron ore, with a view to addressing the requirements of miners and the steel industry and boosting freight loading.
With an eye on the self-reliance mission, higher priority has been given to movement of iron ore for domestic manufacturing activities, and even within this, priority preference will be given to three sets of customers.
These are steel/pig iron/sponge iron/pellet/sinter plant owning customers, having their own private sidings at both loading as well as unloading ends, customers with private siding at either loading or unloading end and customers without any private siding of their own, relying totally on public goodsheds/sidings.
Importantly, export traffic shall be given priority ‘D’. To differentiate rail-cum-sea traffic from export traffic, the former would have to be accompanied by a self-declaration that such traffic is meant for domestic consumption and the railways will not be held responsible for any wrong declaration submitted by the manufacturer.
Clear guidelines have been issued on how to fully meet the needs of customers by leveraging infrastructure facilities available at loading and unloading ends to the fullest. Under the new policy, existing categorisation based on customers’ profile is being done away with and old and new iron ore plants will be treated similarly as far as allotment/loading of rakes is concerned.
With a view to maximising iron-ore movement by the railways, the categories used for priority movement of ore will be based on availability of railway infrastructure developed by the customer for loading/unloading and the nature of movement between various types of sidings. The new policy will come into effect from February 10. Iron ore and steel make up 17% of the total freight loading of IR.
To facilitate ‘ease of doing business’, customers are free to choose the priorities or combination of priorities for moving their traffic as per eligibility and necessity.
No permission is required to be obtained for choosing priorities or combination of priorities. Moreover, scrutiny of documentation by IR has been removed. The office of the Eastern Railway director of Railway Movement, Kolkata, responsible for sanctioning the movement of iron-ore traffic, will have no regulatory role in the new policy.
The ERDM will be undertaking analysis of various iron-ore traffic for further improvement of IR’s freight loading.
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