Pakistan Railways made enormous revenue of Rs. 28.263 billion over the last six months from July to December 2022 through its regular operations, notwithstanding the suspension of train operations due to flood devastation.
The total expenditure for the same period was Rs. 52.990 billion, of which 35% went to pensions and 33% to departmental pay, according to a government document made available to APP.
Over the same period, from July to December 2022, Pakistan Railways got a subsidy of Rs. 21.750 billion as a grant of aid from the Federal government. The net deficit from July to December, however, was reported to be Rs. 2.977 billion.
Despite its limited resources, Pakistan Railways is making every effort to become a profitable company. In this sense, the department has created a two-pronged action plan that emphasizes both revenue generating through non-core activities and a focus on core tasks.
Since the country’s independence, Pakistan Railways has provided service to the people. When it comes to spending on rolling equipment and railway infrastructure, decades of neglect have occurred. The department’s budgetary needs have been negatively harmed by this neglect.
According to the report, the department faced further bad news during the first half of the current fiscal year 2022–23 as a result of the catastrophic flooding brought on by climate change that wreaked havoc on the infrastructure that was already in poor shape.
As train operations were suspended for more than 35 days, Pakistan Railways suffered a revenue loss. Additionally, the department was further burdened with the task of restoring rail traffic with the limited resources at its disposal.
Regarding the focus on core activities, it was stated that Pakistan Railways had created a business plan in January 2023 to boost income and save costs through better administration. The strategy is being carried out exactly as intended.
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Railway Automated Booking and Travel Assistance (RABTA), two new digitalization projects, also seek to improve efficiency and close the revenue expenditure gap.
From January 2023, the department will resume operating its premium train service, the Green Line. The train will be made up of new Chinese coaches that were recently imported and fitted with entertainment features including LED lighting, Wi-Fi, and public speaker systems.
In addition, Pakistan Railways is importing 230 passenger coaches from China, of which 46 have already arrived, with the other coaches being manufactured in the nation through the transfer of technology (ToT).
Regarding the focus on revenue generation through non-core activities, it was noted that Pakistan Railways recently submitted a business plan to the Supreme Court and prevailed in its request for permission to use its land for the creation of economic activities and thereby ensure revenue for itself.
In order to increase the department’s financial potential, some more routes are also being investigated. These include the commercial possibility of installing optical fiber cable along railroad tracks and branding trains and stations.