In the wake of increasing cases of coronavirus and 21-day country-wide lockdown, Indian Railways has suspended the operations of all passenger train services till 31st March 2020. However, freight movement remains unaffected to ensure availability of essential commodities with Railway staff being deployed at various good sheds, stations and control offices round the clock to ensure rakes of essential commodities are handled smoothly without any delay.
An emergency freight control is working in the Ministry of Railways to monitor the uninterrupted movement of essential commodities over the Indian Railway system.
On March 23, a total of 474 rakes of essential commodities like food grains, salt, edible oil, sugar, milk, fruits & vegetables, onion, Coal and Petroleum products were loaded. During the day, a total of 891 rakes (121 rakes of Iron ore, 48 rakes of steel, 25 rakes of cement, 28 rakes of fertiliser, 106 rakes of the container, etc.) of other important commodities was loaded by Indian Railways.
To ensure easy movement, Indian Railways has slashed the demurrage and wharfage rates for goods and parcel at half of the prescribed rates till 31.03.2020.
Validity of the rate policies pertaining to goods/container traffic has also been extended by one month up to 30.04.2020, while no haulage charge shall be levied for movement of empty containers/empty flat wagons from 24.03.2020 to 30.04.2020.
Free time for loading/unloading of wagons and for removal of consignment from railway premises has also been increased to double of the prescribed free time until 31.03.20.