Freight users encountered minimal network congestion during Q4 2023

MUMBAI, India, April 30, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Dun & Bradstreet, a global leader in business decisioning data and analytics, in collaboration with Jupiter Wagons, released the Indian Railway Freight Activity (IRFA) Index, an initiative launched amid the government’s efforts to enhance railway freight modal share. The report provides a comprehensive assessment of the dynamics of Indian Railway freight activity through the lens of the railway freight users.

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At a quarterly frequency, the IRFA index comprises of two sub-indices – the Freight Activity Experience sub-index for the current quarter and the Freight Activity Optimism sub-index for the upcoming quarter, derived from a survey of railway freight users transporting freight through the five major railway zones i.e. Eastern, Western, Northern, Southern and Central. The index value ranges from 0-100, where 50 is the neutral level of railway freight activity on a year-on-year basis.

Key Findings:

  • The Indian Railway Freight Activity (IRFA) Index stood at 63 for Q4 2023, where an index value above 50, indicates an increase in the level of activity on a year-on-year basis and vice-versa.
  • The Freight Activity Optimism (sub-index) for Q1 2024 was higher at 67 compared to 59 for Q4 2023.
  • The IRFA index is the highest for the Northern railway zone and amongst the mid-sized railway freight transporters.
  • Sector-wise, IRFA index was the highest for the metals & mining and electric & electronics sectors, indicating both strong freight activity in Q4 2023 and high optimism for freight activity in Q1 2024.
  • The gap between IRFA optimism level for Q1 2024 and IRFA experience level for Q4 2023 is the highest for the Central and the Eastern railway zones and lowest for the Northern railway zones. This suggests that the Central and Eastern railway zones are expected to experience a higher pace of freight activity in Q1 2024 over Q4 2023 compared to other railway zones.
  • Availability and turnaround time for machinery for cargo handling and wagons improved the most in Q4 2023 compared to Q3 2024.
  • Freight users have experienced an increase in freight cost in Q4 2023 over the previous quarter and expects it to increase in Q1 2024.

Arun Singh, Global Chief Economist, Dun & Bradstreet, said, “Our survey uncovered two compelling insights. Firstly, railway freight transporters are encountering minimal network congestion, with only an average of 13% respondents identifying it as a challenge for two consecutive quarters. This aligns with the government’s ongoing initiatives to alleviate congestion in railway routes and promote the shift of freight transportation from roads to railways. In February 2024, the government approved six multi-tracking projects spanning six states, anticipated to enhance wagon turnaround time, decrease logistics costs, and yield other indirect benefits such as reduced CO2 emissions. Secondly, our survey underscores a growing consciousness among businesses, particularly large and mid-sized enterprises, regarding sustainability in freight transportation. Notably, over one-third of these businesses are opting for railways to promote environmental sustainability.”

Hailing Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s announcement of plans to upgrade 40,000 regular bogies to Vande Bharat standards, mobility solutions provider Jupiter Wagons Limited managing director Vivek Lohia, said it is a dynamic move in the right direction.

Describing the announcement as a significant milestone in India’s railway modernisation journey, Lohia said that this initiative reflects a dedicated effort to elevate passenger safety, comfort, and operational efficiency to global standards.

“As the nation progresses towards modernising its railway infrastructure, this move underscores a commitment to excellence and sets a benchmark for future development. It is a testament to the ongoing efforts to enhance the quality and reliability of our railway services, ultimately benefiting millions of passengers across the country, that the proposal seems to have a transformative vision for the rail sector, emphasising strategic initiatives such as the port connectivity corridor, energy, mineral and cement corridor and more specially the high traffic density corridor. These corridors will signify a pivotal step towards enhancing connectivity, driving economic growth, and ensuring passenger safety.”

“With a focus on outcomes over outlays, the government underscores its commitment to timely delivery and cost-effective logistics solutions. Also, these are core infrastructures and every penny invested in core infrastructure has a rebound effect on the economy. The announcement reflects a bold stride towards holistic transformation and underscores the government’s dedication to modernizing India’s railway infrastructure.”

About Jupiter Wagons:

Jupiter Wagons Limited is a leading Indian manufacturer of railway freight wagons, committed to delivering productive and reliable transportation solutions for a nation on the move. We boast a rich heritage of over four decades, pioneering advancements in wagon design and construction, while consistently exceeding industry standards for quality and safety.  Pioneering excellence in railway freight car engineering. We have been shaping the future of cargo transportation with cutting-edge technology, robust designs, and unwavering customer focus. Our variety of wagons caters to every commodity need, ensuring seamless and efficient movement across the country’s railway network.

Jupiter Wagons Limited, once known solely for its robust rail wagons, is now boldly rewriting its narrative. Recognizing the shifting winds of the transportation landscape, the company has embarked on a strategic diversification journey, venturing into promising new realms. Beyond steel behemoths, the horizon now encompasses electric commercial vehicles, poised to capitalize on the burgeoning green mobility wave. But innovation doesn’t stop there. Jupiter has set its sights on the proliferate business of railway brake systems, brake discs for high-speed LHB coaches and track solutions, leveraging its existing expertise to forge a stronger grip on the industry. This multi-pronged unlocks new avenues for growth and a healthier bottom line. Jupiter Wagons is no longer just an engineering entity of the rail sector; it’s a dynamic conglomerate, chugging confidently towards building a product portfolio assortment for the future of mobility solutions.

About Dun & Bradstreet:

Dun & Bradstreet, a leading global provider of business decisioning data and analytics, enables companies around the world to improve their business performance. Dun & Bradstreet’s Data Cloud fuels solutions and delivers insights that empower customers to accelerate revenue, lower cost, mitigate risk and transform their businesses. Since 1841, companies of every size have relied on Dun & Bradstreet to help them manage risk and reveal opportunity. For more information on Dun & Bradstreet, please visit www.dnb.com.

Dun & Bradstreet Information Services India Private Limited is headquartered in Mumbai and provides clients with data-driven products and technology-driven platforms to help them take faster and more accurate decisions across finance, risk, compliance, information technology and marketing. Working towards Government of India’s vision of creating an Atmanirbhar Bharat (Self-Reliant India) by supporting the Make in India initiative, Dun & Bradstreet India has a special focus on helping entrepreneurs enhance their visibility, increase their credibility, expand access to global markets, and identify potential customers & suppliers, while managing risk and opportunity.

India is also the home to Dun & Bradstreet Technology & Corporate Services LLP, which is the Global Capabilities Center (GCC) of Dun & Bradstreet supporting global technology delivery using cutting-edge technology. Located at Hyderabad, the GCC has a highly skilled workforce of over 500 employees, and focuses on enhanced productivity, economies of scale, consistent delivery processes and lower operating expenses.

Visit www.dnb.co.in for more information. Click here for all Dun & Bradstreet India press releases.

Dun & Bradstreet Contact:

Kaustav Bhattacharya

Email: BhattacharyaK@DNB.com

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