Despite prolonged delays in delivery of freight wagons by private manufacturers, the Railway Board has placed an additional order for 9,468 wagons costing ₹2,635 crore.
The backlog is as high as 25,000 units, which will take at least another couple of years to be cleared.
The additional wagons will add to the current fleet of nearly 3 lakh wagons of two varieties — open and closed.
If private players are unable to meet the demand, the only option left is to import. The Container Corporation of India, a unit of the Railways, imports most of its containers, especially from China.
In 2018-19, the Railways loaded 1,216 million tonnes of goods, 55 mt more than that loaded in the previous year. Coal and coke contribute nearly 60% of the freight traffic, followed by cement and foodgrains. There is no shortage of demand to move cargo. Construction of the Eastern and the Western Dedicated Freight Corridors will lead freight volumes to more than double to 2,165 million tonnes by FY2020.
China, world’s biggest coal consumer, has aimed to reduce the proportion of coal in its energy mix to below 58% by 2020.
Last year (2018-19), coal consumption in China grew by 34 million tonnes from a year earlier to 3.83 billion tonnes. Beijing has kept a target for coal usage at 4.1 billion tonnes by 2020.
Despite continuous capacity reduction, Chinese mills manufactured 928 million tonnes of crude steel in 2018 and are expected to produce 900 million-930 million tonnes in 2019 and 2020, which will bring coal consumption to about 4.49 billion tonnes of standard coal equivalent.
During the period January to March 2019, Coal India Ltd registered a growth in its production, profits and sales on account of strong volume growth.
As per a report by JM Financial, Coal demand is expected to grow at 7% in the next 2-3 years. In April 2019, Coal India registered a production growth of 1% and offtake growth of 2.6%.
In 2018-19, Coal India produced 607 million tonnes, registering a growth of 7% over 2017-18.
CIL has registered better average realisation in both FSA and e-auction sales coupled with operational cost control. Coal quality variance was also under control and grade slippage to a large extent was controlled.
Coal India Ltd has reported over 362% increase in its consolidated net profit for the quarter ended March 2019 at Rs. 6,024.23 crore as compared to Rs. 1,302.63 crore in the year-ago period. The net profit for the year 2018-19 was Rs.17,462.18 crore as against Rs. 7,038.44 crore in 2017-18.
CIL’s revenue from operations during the quarter ended March 2019 registered a growth of 7.5% over corresponding quarter of 2017-18.
During the quarter ended March 2019, Coal India Ltd produced 194.45 million tonnes of coal against 183.45 MT during the same quarter of FY18, registering a growth of 6%.
Coal supplies to consuming sectors during the fourth quarter of 2018-19 were 163.51 million tonnes, registering a growth of 3% over 158.86 million tonnes during the same quarter of 2017-18