Dedicated Freight Corridors
The Eastern and Western Dedicated Freight Corridors (DFC) are a mega rail transport project being undertaken to increase transportation capacity, reduce unit costs of transportation, and improve service quality. The Eastern DFC (1839 route kilometres (RKM) extends from Dankuni near Kolkata to Ludhiana in Punjab, while the Western DFC (1499 RKM) extends from the Jawahar Lal Nehru Port (JNPT) in Mumbai to Dadri /Rewari near Delhi.
An SPV Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Limited was set up to implement the project. The DFCCIL is constructing 3,300 km long Eastern and Western freight corridors for exclusively movement of goods trains for Railways.
Out of 10,703 ha of land to be acquired for the project, 7,768 ha (73 per cent) has already been awarded (by March 2013) under the Railway Amendment Act (RAA) 2008.
Apart from the Eastern and Western DFCs, a feasibility study has also been undertaken on four future freight corridors, viz.
- East-West Corridor (Kolkata-Mumbai)
- North-South Corridor (Delhi-Chennai)
- East Coast Corridor (Kharagpur-Vijayawada)
- Southern Corridor (Goa-Chennai).
The Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India (DFCCI) is building what would be the country’s largest infrastructure project involving almost 3,300 kilometres of railway track. Construction of DFC project will provide transport infrastructure to carry heavy loaded trains and ease out congestion of train movement on existing Indian Railway network besides facilitating utilisation of surplus capacity to introduce new passenger services.
Currently, railways share in freight transportation is about 36 per cent of total goods transported in the country and the Railways aims to increase it substantially.
Funding of DFC
The major part of Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor is being funded by World Bank and the Western Dedicated Freight corridor is being funded by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Some parts are being built in PPP Mode.
Potential Benefits to Railways, Economy and Environment
- The current speed of goods trains in India is 25/26 km per hour. Once the DFC is ready, the speed will go up to 75-80 km per hour.
- The DFC will allow for the first time to have a time-tabled freight services for movement of the cargo to the gateway ports with guaranteed transit time. This would enhance international connectivity from India.
- The axle load of wagons will go up from 22.9MT to 32.5 MT.
- Goods moved by road have three times the emission rate in comparison to the corresponding movement by rail. The DFC, once completed is expected to replace 4 Lakh trucks in each corridor and thus would significantly contribute to environment. It will also reduce congestion and bottlenecks in the road and rail networks.
The DFC is entangled into 1600 court cases and 6000 arbitration cases, of which around half have been resolved. Most of these cases pertain to land acquisition. Due to this, DFC has missed several deadlines. Currently, it is expected that this Rs. 81.4 Crore project will be completed by 2019.