Amid the Nationwide Lockdown, the Railways has asked cement firms to offload their goods from freight trains so that they can be used to supply essential commodities to various parts of the country, informed the sources

The national transporter to meet the demand is using about 50-60 rakes per day to ferry food grains but there is demand for more, the sources said.

According to reports, around 300 goods trains full of cement bags are lying idle as cement companies are in no hurry to unload them amid the construction business has come to a standstill due to the coronavirus outbreak.

An official known to the matter said, “With the railways having waived off its demurrage and wharfage charges, companies were not losing any money by not offloading their goods,”

He further adds, “These rakes with covered wagons are just lying there full of cement. Due to the lack of availability of labour, there is no construction work happening in the country, so cement companies are in no hurry to unload. ¨We have told them that if they do not unload their goods in a couple of days, we will reinstate the charges for keeping our wagons waiting.”

Demurrage charges are levied for the detention of any rolling stock after the expiry of free time, if any, allowed for such detention. Wharfage is the charge levied on goods for not removing them from the railway after the expiry of the free time for such removal. The Railways had waived off these charges during the lockdown period.

Officials also said that to meet the huge demand for essential commodities across the country it was essential to free up these trains to ferry essentials such as fruits, vegetables, food grains, salt and sugar, especially after the movement of goods through roadways is virtually negligible.

If sources are to be believed the national transported is facing a similar problem with goods trains carrying steel as there are no labourers to unload them.

According to the railways, during the 13-day period between March 23 and April 4, have loaded and carried 1,342 wagons of sugar, 958 wagons of salt and 378 wagons/tanks of edible oil (one wagon contains 58-60 tonne consignment).