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Indian Railways to Develop 3 Dedicated Freight Corridors Spanning 4,300 Km

Indian Railways is planning three new Dedicated Freight Corridors (DFCs), which will collectively span over 4,300 Km. The estimated development cost of these DFCs is about Rs. 2 lakh crore.

DPRs for Two Dedicated Freight Corridors Submitted, One DPR to be Ready by April End

As of now, Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Ltd. (DFCCIL) has already submitted Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) for two of these railway corridors, namely East Coast DFC and North-South DFC. The Hindu Businessline reported on 7th April 2024 that DPR for the third freight corridor, namely East-West DFC, is likely to be completed by the end of April 2024.

Details of the 3 New Dedicated Freight Corridors

East Coast Corridor to Traverse through Andhra, Odisha & West Bengal

East Coast Corridor will be passing through Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal, and will run almost parallel to the existing Kharagpur-Vijayawada coastal railway line. This 1,115 Km-long DFC will have Kharagpur in West Bengal and Tenali, near Vijaywada, in Andhra Pradesh as its terminal points. Therefore, this DFC will connect mineral-rich sites in Odisha and Bengal to the Vijaywada port.

East Coast DFC will pass through South Eastern, East Coast and South-Central Railway zonal railways.

DFCCIL states that this route will have “…mines of Coal, Iron ore, Thermal Power Plants, Ports, Fertilizers, Petroleum Oil & Lubricants (POL), Container Corporation (CONCOR) Inland Container Deports (ICDs), Food Corporation of India (FCI) godowns, etc.” as its major traffic generators.

North-South Dedicated Freight Corridor to Connect MP to Andhra

Coal Transportation

North-South DFC will run from Itarsi in Madhya Pradesh to Tenali in Andhra Pradesh, covering a distance of about 1,000 Km to 1,200 Km. This corridor will pass through Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Telangana, and Andhra Pradesh.

DFCCIL has mentioned Coal mines, cement & thermal power plants, POL, CONCOR ICDs, fertilisers, and FCI godowns as major contributors of traffic on this route.

The Hindu BusinessLine cited an unnamed official in its report saying that a “long-term plan” is to connect Dadri, a prominent industrial area in Uttar Pradesh, with Itarshi on the North-South DFC.

East-West Dedicated Freight Corridor to be 2,100 Km-long, to go through 5 States

East-West Dedicated Freight Corridor will have a main line which will be 2,100 Km in length, linking Andal in West Bengal with Palgarh in Maharashtra. Other than the main line, this corridor will have additional spur lines, having a collective length of about 300 Km.

The East-West DFC will pass through West Bengal, Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra. DPR for this corridor is expected to be submitted by the end of April 2024.

Dedicated Freight Corridors to Grow Share of Railways in India’s Freight Traffic

The National Rail Plan Vision – 2030 of the Indian Railways targets increasing modal share of railways in freight traffic to 45%. This figure as of now stands at about 28%. The plan further highlights the need for ‘identifying new Dedicated Freight Corridors’.

The importance of Dedicated Freight Corridors lies in decongesting passenger routes, and thereby increasing the speed and efficiency of freight transportation. Usually, due to heavy passenger traffic, especially in the ‘Golden Quadilateral’*, cargo and freight trains have long waiting times which often lead to delay in transportation of raw materials and industrial goods. Dedicated Freight Corridors seek to tackle this very issue.

*Indian Railways’ Golden Quadilateral connects Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Howrah, along with diagonal connectivity between Delhi-Chennai and Mumbai-Howrah.