Indian Railways will give higher priority to iron ore being moved for domestic manufacturing activity and those that have their own loading and unloading infrastructure, says Indian Railway’s new iron-ore policy governing allocation of rakes and transportation of iron-ore.The policy sets down clear guidelines on ways to fully meet the requirements of customers by leveraging infrastructure facilities available at loading and unloading ends, informed an official release.The priority preferences for the customers will be self-generated by the system. So, the rake (the entire train set) will be system-generated after the customer puts in details like name of manufacturer, consignor name, consignee name, siding or private freight terminal by the concerned zone.“Within domestic movement of iron-ore traffic, priority preference given to steel/ pig iron/ sponge iron/ pellet/ sinter plant owning customers having their own private sidings at both loading as well as unloading ends, followed by customers with private siding at either loading or unloading end, followed by customers without any private siding of their own relying totally on (Indian Railways’) public good sheds or sidings, said the release.Export traffic shall be prioritised next. To differentiate rail-cum-sea traffic from export traffic, the former should be accompanied by a self-declaration that such traffic is meant for domestic consumption and the Railways will not be held responsible for any wrong declaration submitted by the manufacturer. Pellet, sinter traffic, dispatch of ‘low grade fines or iron ore rejects’ generated during the process of manufacturing have been freely allowed this priority to any location.

The provisions of the new policy will be updated in the Rake Allotment System module by CRIS, the IT arm of Indian Railways. All plants will be treated similarly as far as allotment/ loading of rakes is concerned.Iron-ore is the second most important stream of traffic for Indian Railways, and along with steel, accounts for nearly 17 per cent of the total 1,210 million tonnes of freight loaded by it in 2019-20.Customers are free to choose the priorities or combination of priorities for moving their traffic as per eligibility and necessity. No permission is required to be obtained for choosing priorities or combination of priorities, stated the release, adding that customers (not railways) will be responsible for not moving traffic based on regulations that govern such movement.