Uptick in transportation activity

by Madhumita Gokhale

Transportation activity picked up substantially in March 2022, following two months of subdued performance. Indicators measuring goods and passenger transportation activity by railways, roadways and ports showed improvement both on a y-o-y as well as sequential basis with the easing of Covid-19-related restrictions.

Revenue earning freight traffic handled by the railways reached an all-time high level of 139.2 million tonnes in March 2022. Its growth was of 6.7 per cent y-o-y, a tad higher than the 6.6 per cent growth recorded in February 2022. Moreover, the March 2022 growth was over the high base of March 2021, when railway traffic had reached its second highest level of 130.5 million tonnes.

Domestically produced coal registered an 11.3 per cent y-o-y increase in railway traffic. It rose to a record high of 55.6 million tonnes in March 2022. In April 2022, the railways have taken additional measures to further increase coal transportation to power plants, as per media reports.

Railway traffic of foodgrain and fertilisers shot up by 81.8 per cent and 44.6 per cent y-o-y, respectively in March 2022. Petroleum, oil & lubricants (POL) and container service also saw a 6-7 per cent increase. In contrast, traffic of iron ore and cement declined by seven per cent and 2.1 per cent, respectively.

Total freight traffic handled by the railways in 2021-22 amounted to 1.4 billion tonnes, up from 1.2 billion tonnes handled during each of the previous three years.

The railways witnessed sharp improvement in passenger bookings as well in March 2022. Passenger bookings of railway tickets reached a 12-month high of 484.1 million. This was 53 per cent higher than the corresponding year-ago level. Growth in January and February 2022 had been less pronounced at 44 per cent. Cumulative passenger bookings in 2021-22, at 3.5 billion, were much higher than in the pandemic year of 2020-21. But they did not recover to the level of 8.1 billion and above seen in earlier years.

Transportation activity by roadways also showed signs of recovery in March 2022, following the easing of mobility restrictions. Diesel and petrol consumption are taken as a proxy for measuring road transportation activity of commercial and private vehicles, respectively, due to the absence of official statistics. Consumption of high speed diesel grew y-o-y by 6.7 per cent in March 2022. It amounted to 7.7 million tonnes. Petrol consumption also increased by 6.1 per cent to 2.9 million tonnes. This was in spite of the 6-16 per cent y-o-y increase recorded in their prices in domestic markets.

Overall petrol consumption in 2021-22 grew to 30.8 million tonnes. This was higher than the 28-30 million tonnes recorded in the previous two years. Diesel consumption, however, did not recover completely to the pre-Covid level. It stood at 76.7 million tonnes in 2021-22, compared to 82.6 million tonnes in 2019-20.

Other indicators measuring road transportation activity also showed improvement in March 2022. GST e-way bill generation, which measures goods transportation activity, rose to 78.2 million. Its March 2022 growth at 9.7 per cent y-o-y was sharper than the 8.3 per cent growth seen in the previous month. National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC), at Rs. 40.9 million, was 12.8 per cent higher on a sequential basis, and 32.7 per cent higher than the year-ago level.

Motor vehicle registrations declined by 2.9 per cent y-o-y to in March 2022, as per data released by Vahan, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH). But, this was less pronounced than the 9-16 per cent decline seen in the previous three months. Total registrations amounted to 1.6 million in March 2022. Transportation vehicles, which are used for commercial purposes, posted a 17.4 per cent y-o-y increase in registrations. Registration of non-transportation vehicles, in contrast, continued to fall. But its decline reduced sequentially during the past three months, from 18.1 per cent y-o-y in December 2021 to 4.5 per cent in March 2022.

Total vehicle registrations rose from 15.3 million in 2020-21 to 16.4 million in 2021-22. But this was still much lower than the 21.8 million registrations seen in 2019-20.

India’s major ports also witnessed growth in cargo traffic in March 2022, after four months of decline. It grew by 1.2 per cent y-o-y, as per tentative data. This was on top of the 11.6 per cent growth recorded in March 2021. Total volume of cargo in March 2022 stood at 69.8 million tonnes. The increase was driven by fertiliser, thermal & steam coal and POL. On the other hand, traffic of iron ore, coking coal and containerised cargo continued to fall.

CMIE STATISTICS
Unemployment Rate (30-DAY MVG. AVG.)
Per cent
7.3 +0.4
Consumer Sentiments Index
Base September-December 2015
69.7 -0.3
Consumer Expectations Index
Base September-December 2015
69.4 -0.4
Current Economic Conditions Index
Base September-December 2015
70.1 0.0
Quarterly CapEx Aggregates
(Rs.trillion) Jun 21 Sep 21 Dec 21 Mar 22
New projects 2.89 3.14 3.47 4.92
Completed projects 0.73 1.28 2.76 1.05
Stalled projects 0.33 0.28 0.06 0.29
Revived projects 1.14 0.39 2.06 0.28
Implementation stalled projects 0.64 0.25 0.65 0.07
Updated on: 18 May 2022 8:28PM
Quarterly Financials of Listed Companies
(% change) Jun 21 Sep 21 Dec 21 Mar 22
All listed Companies
 Income 42.2 27.5 23.5 21.8
 Expenses 41.9 26.7 21.7 20.0
 Net profit 139.6 55.1 31.9 38.4
 PAT margin (%) 9.0 9.6 9.0 10.3
 Count of Cos. 4,558 4,678 4,690 1,063
Non-financial Companies
 Income 61.0 35.7 29.3 29.1
 Expenses 62.6 36.0 29.1 29.7
 Net profit 192.7 59.7 18.4 18.1
 PAT margin (%) 8.4 8.8 7.5 9.1
 Net fixed assets 4.9 -0.8
 Current assets 10.8 18.4
 Current liabilities 0.8 10.4
 Borrowings 12.1 7.9
 Reserves & surplus 12.4 10.0
 Count of Cos. 3,332 3,383 3,402 760
Numbers are net of P&E
Updated on: 18 May 2022 8:28PM
Annual Financials of All Companies
(% change) FY20 FY21 FY22
All Companies
 Income 0.5 -0.9 16.1
 Expenses 0.3 -3.3 16.7
 Net profit -4.9 72.5 24.3
 PAT margin (%) 2.0 4.5 12.3
 Assets 8.9 9.6 3.3
 Net worth 4.6 11.5 5.2
 RONW (%) 3.4 7.0 12.4
 Count of Cos. 32,202 29,546 46
Non-financial Companies
 Income -1.3 -2.0 16.2
 Expenses -1.0 -4.1 17.4
 Net profit -20.8 63.1 20.8
 PAT margin (%) 2.2 4.2 11.1
 Net fixed assets 11.2 1.3 8.5
 Net worth 2.2 10.4 8.3
 RONW (%) 4.7 8.0 15.8
 Debt / Equity (times) 1.2 1.0 0.1
 Interest cover (times) 1.9 2.5 26.6
 Net working capital cycle (days) 81 84 38
 Count of Cos. 25,551 23,301 36
Numbers are net of P&E
Updated on: 12 May 2022 7:22AM