The Railways is expecting growth of over 30% in its earnings from freight in the next fiscal to Rs 89,339 crore on higher loading of goods and commodities.
Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi, who spared goods movement from increase in freight rates in his maiden Budget, projected 1,025 million tonne in the next fiscal.
"The railways is targeting to carry 1,025 million tonnes of revenue earning originating traffic during 2012-13, which is 55 million tonne more than the revised estimate target of 970 million tonne," he said.
He added that "the freight earnings target has been kept at Rs 89,339 crore, indicating a growth of 30.2% over the current year's revised target."
Emphasising the fact that revenues of the Railways have been dependent on freight traffic, Trivedi said, "This model of heavy cross subsidy is not sustainable over a long period. If this continues, then I am afraid railways may lose freight traffic to road."
He further said that the Railways has scaled down its freight loading target for the current fiscal to 970 million tonne from earlier estimated target of 993 million tonne due to ban on iron ore exports by Karnataka and Odisha state governments.
Iron ore is the second-largest contributor after coal in Railways' freight revenues.
However, the Railway Minister said that the earnings targets for the current fiscal has been kept at the same level in revised estimates due to increase in freight rates, made on March 06.
"The earnings target [Rs 68,620 crore] for goods has been retained in view of freight rationalisation implemented from March 06, 2012. The rationalisation seeks to better align the freight tariff with cost of rendering service and ease the pressure on railway finances," he said.