Sri Lanka state railway losses mount

COLOMBO (EconomyNext) – Losses at Sri Lanka’s state-owned railway “increased substantially“ in 2014 despite the carriage of more passengers and goods and fares remaining unchanged as fuel prices fell, the Central bank annual report has revealed.

Total revenue of the Sri Lanka Railways increased by 9 percent to 5.9 billion rupees while recurrent expenditure increased by 60 percent to 16.9 billion rupees, leading to an increase in operating losses to 11 billion rupees in 2014 from the loss of 5.2 billion in 2013.

The government decided to keep the rail tariff unchanged in spite of the reduction in diesel prices, as Sri Lanka Railways charges still remain low relative to charges of other modes of public transportation, the report released Wednesday said.

Rail passenger kilometreage increased by 9.3 percent to 6.8 billion km in 2014 from 6.3 billion km in 2013 as a result of relatively low tariffs and the resumption of train services to northern Jaffna with which rail links had been cut by war.

The goods kilometreage increased by 13.2 percent to 151 million MT km in 2014 mainly due to the introduction of vehicle transportation using old rolling stock, the report said.

The main development of the year was the recommencement of railway services to Jaffna in September 2014 after 24 years.

The line was rebuilt by IRCON International Ltd, an Indian government company, under an Indian credit line.


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