Increasing rail share in freight transport in India
Indian Railways was once the largest freight transport carrier in the country, but its share in freight mobility has been rapidly reducing – a decline from 39% in 2002-03 to 27% in 2014-15. Road-based freight transport, which is more energy and emission-intensive, has grown at the expense of the Indian Railways. Several government assessments have identified ways to address this challenge but via long-term measures.
Indian Railways is mostly dependent on a freight segment for funding their day-to-day requirements as well as infrastructure augmentation. Increasing modal share of railways is one of the most important measures to decarbonize transportation.
The aim of this study is to identify the underlying factors which have resulted in such declining railway shares, but also draw up specific implementable strategies for the Railways to get back some of its declining shares. Looking at the areas where the focus is required from the Indian Railways going forward, TERI has come up with a roadmap. This study identifies commodities that have the highest potential to shift to railways and proposes short to medium term strategies to address policy and infrastructure barriers. Supported by Shakti Foundation, TERI has prepared a detailed analysis for six commodities i.e. Automobiles, Cement, Steel, Container, Fly Ash and Parcels.