Rail Move

Sept 01, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s state-owned railway has ordered wagons to transport petroleum products from Pakistan as it seeks to increase freight transport by rail to reduce congestion on roads, a senior official said. The railway service has been making heavy losses in recent years and has not been allowed by government to raise fares to cover costs because of opposition by passengers. General Manager Sri Lanka Railways P P Wijesekera said the wagons will be used to transport petroleum products for the state oil refiner, Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC).

“We’re getting 15 petroleum transportation wagons from Pakistan,” he said. “They will take about a year to be delivered.”

Many CPC storage facilities are located near rail tracks or have access to the national rail system.

Petroleum was transported by rail many years ago but the system gradually fell into disuse as transport by bowsers became popular.

But bulk transport of petroleum products by rail can be cheaper than by road.

Wijesekera said the railway was trying to do more freight transportation in order to both increase revenue as well as to reduce traffic on the island’s congested roads.