Drop in iron ore demand to hit SER's freight traffic target

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Kolkata, Sep 19 (UNI) The South Eastern Railway(SER) is likely to fall short of handling the targeted freight traffic of 124 million tonnes(mt) for the current fiscal as loading of iron ore is on the wane since August.

Informing this to news persons here yesterday, SER General Manager(GM) A K Jain said the share of iron-ore in total SER loading was about 70 per cent, of which loading for integrated steel plant like SAIL, TISCO and RINL accounted for 45 per cent.

''Such figures for sponge as well as pig iron plants and iron-ore fines for exports are 35 per cent and 20 per cent respectively,'' he added.

The SER has the capacity to load 60 rakes of iron ore a day and it had handled freight traffic of 31 mt during the first quarter of the current financial year, according to him.

''In the current month till September 16, the Chakradharpur division has been loading 56 rakes of iron-ore per day which has suddenly dropped to 30 rakes per day in the last two days,'' Mr Jain added.

For integrated steel plants, loading was only 18 rakes a day against a programme of 26 rakes per day, registering a decrease of 30 per cent during the past two days, he informed.

On the other hand, for sponge and pig iron plants, the loading was only two rakes a day against an average of 11 rakes per day, recording a reduction of 80 per cent, he said adding iron ore fines for export was also showing a negative growth with loading of only three rakes against the average loading of 10-11 rakes in the same period.

Expressing concern over not getting indents and fall in iron-ore demand, the GM said it had led to idle capacity in the railways as SER was geared up to lift 60-65 rakes of iron ore per day.

The loading of iron-ore for the previous month stood at 53.8 rakes per day for the SER, while such figure was assessed at 47.9 rakes a day in August 2007.

UNI SB PL KLC1400

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