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Transport Sector Stakeholder Consultations | Session 03 – Towards Decarbonization of Freight Transport in India

Road transport in India is dominant both in terms of traffic share and contribution to the economy. Road transport – the largest consumer of commercial fuel energy within the transportation system – accounts for 87% of the emissions from this sector.

Despite its impact on transport sector emissions, road transport has largely remained untouched by transitions towards decarbonization. Fragmentation of surface freight transport to small fleet operators, heavy reliance on road transport (compared to rail), and a lack of academic research on technological needs, pose challenges to this transition.

A modal shift to railways is a solution, especially as India’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) envision an increase in rail share of freight transport to 45%. In reality, however, there has actually been a fall in the share of railways for both passenger and freight transport. Efficiency improvements, coupled with tightened emissions norms and a shift to clean electrification of heavy duty vehicles (HDVs) are some ways to decarbonize the freight transport sector in India.

This webinar will initiate a conversation among stakeholders to remove barriers in decarbonizing freight transport, convene those that can potentially be part of the solution and discuss:

  • Challenges specific to Indian freight transport sector that hinder the modal shift from road to rail.
  • Coordinated policy, planning and financial requirements to enable this shift.
  • Options to include low-carbon freight transport/ rail targets in India’s NDC.
  • Specific technologies tailored to the requirements of India’s freight transport sector that can enable mass electrification of the sector or its shift to rail.


  • K Sanjay Murthy, CEO & Managing Director, National Industrial Corridor Development Corporation (NICDC)
  • KR Jyothilal, IAS, Principal Secretary, Transport Department, Government of Kerala
  • Sharmila Chavaly, Principal Financial Advisor, Ministry of Railways
  • Pierpalo Cazzola, Advisor, Energy, Technology and Environmental Sustainability, ITF
  • Dr OP Agarwal, CEO, WRI India
  • Ulka Kelkar, Director, Climate Program, WRI India
  • Chirag Gajjar, Head, Subnational Climate Action, Climate Program, WRI India

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