Railways on Thursday offered discounts to customers to gain lost ground in freight share, which has been witnessing a decline over the years.
Discounts ranging from 1.5 per cent to 35 per cent are on the offer for freight customers for providing certain minimum loadings as part of the new business plan 2017-18 rolled out by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu here.
Dubbed as mini-rail budget, the action plan for freight sector was launched to increase loadings by gaining the lost ground in freight sector.
“Once freight share in Railways was very high. But it declined over the years for various reasons including global economic condition,” Prabhu said after launching the policy of long term tariff agreements with key freight customers.
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As per the policy, customers are required to offer at least one million tonne traffic per annum.
Lost ground can be regained in freight sector through planned strategies and market oriented approach, he said.
The policy envisages minimum period of agreement shall not be less than three years and at stretch not more than five years.
New customer will have to offer more than 3 million tonne traffic during the agreement period and one million traffic in the first year itself to avail discounts.
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Discount in freight under the scheme will be given as refund within 45 days.
Prabhu further said Railways is “fast moving towards a virtual cycle from a vicious one which will have a cascading effect benefitting all - the Railways, consumers, the economy, the environment and the nation as a whole”.
Key sectors such as cement, fertilisers, steel industries are likely to be benefitted from the policy as it would bring stability and certainty of long-term tariff while customers would have assured supply of wagons.