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Indian Railways reported a 5% growth in freight loading in 2008-09 largely because of a good performance in first half of the fiscal. Relatively poor performance in the second half because of the slowdown caused it to miss the target of 850 MT. It ended the fiscal at 834 million tonnes. While there was increased loading of domestically consumed or imported commodities such as coal, cement and fertiliser, because of a slowdown in demand overseas there was a dip in iron ore and steel loading. As per provisional estimates, the railways expects to register a 7.62% growth in cement loading, while fertilizer is expected to be up a strong 13.70% mainly due to larger import of fertilizers. “The decline in the loading of iron ore and steel was mainly on account of weak demand in the export market. We saw significant growth in coal loading in the last fiscal,” a Rail Bhawan official said. The railways registered a growth of about 9% to 369 MT in coal loading. Iron-ore for export and for steel plants are expected to register a negative growth rate.

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