Jaya Varma Sinha, Member Operations and Business Development of the Railway Board, recently flagged off the 100,000th train, marking a significant milestone for the Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) network. Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the DFC network with its first train on December 12, 2020.
According to the DFC statement, since its inauguration, the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor (EDFC) has witnessed 55,332 trains, while the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor (WDFC) has seen 44,658 trains in operation. Currently, 73.5 percent of the DFC, covering approximately 2,089 route kilometers, has been commissioned, with the exception of the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) connectivity, which is slated for completion by December 2023.
The introduction of the New Dadri – New Rewari section has facilitated seamless freight transportation from the hinterlands of Uttar Pradesh to Western Indian ports, as reported by the Economic Times. This development is crucial in line with the National Logistics Policy, which aims to reduce logistics costs from 15 percent to 8 percent of the GDP by 2030.
The increase in freight infrastructure capacity provided by the DFC is essential in achieving the Indian Railways’ ambitious goal of achieving 3,000 MT freight loading by 2030.
Understanding the Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC)
In simpler terms, DFCs refer to specialized tracks and arrangements dedicated to goods trains. As infrastructure plays a pivotal role in a nation’s competency, India is prioritizing excellent connectivity to support its rapid economic growth. The DFC represents a major step in this direction.
The initial phase of the DFC construction focuses on two corridors: the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor (EDFC) spanning 1,875 km and the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor (WDFC) covering 1,506 km.
Once completed, the DFC will alleviate congestion on the existing railway network by diverting 70 percent of goods trains to these two dedicated corridors.
Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor (EDFC)
The Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor extends over 1,337 km, starting from Sahnewal near Ludhiana in Punjab and passing through Haryana and Uttar Pradesh before reaching its endpoint at Sonnagar in Bihar.
A 538 km section between Sonnagar in Bihar and Dankuni in West Bengal was initially planned as a public-private partnership (PPP) project, intended to provide private-sector entities access to the corridor’s traffic and promote monetization efforts by the railway.
To attract bidders for this Rs 12,000-crore project and mitigate risks for the private concessionaire, the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India (DFCCIL) revamped the proposal for the 371 km stretch between Sonnagar (Bihar) and Andal (West Bengal), making it the first PPP project. The revised plan adopts a design, finance, build, operate, maintain, and transfer (DFBOT) model.
Western Dedicated Freight Corridor (WDFC)
The Western Dedicated Freight Corridor connects Dadri in Uttar Pradesh to Jawaharlal Nehru Port (JNPT) in Mumbai, passing through the states of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Maharashtra.
Covering a distance of 1,504 km, the Western DFC utilizes double-line electric (2 X 25 KV) tracks from JNPT to Dadri, via Vadodara, Ahmedabad, Palanpur, Phulera, and Rewari. It is designed to meet the Eastern DFC at Dadri.
The Western DFC primarily spans Rajasthan (565 km), Maharashtra (177 km), Gujarat (565 km), Haryana (177 km), and a small portion of Uttar Pradesh (18 km). The alignment of the corridor generally runs parallel to the existing lines, with detours provided at Diva, Surat, Ankleshwar, Bharuch, Vadodara, Anand, Ahmedabad, Palanpur, Phulera, and Rewari. However, the section from Rewari to Dadri follows an entirely new alignment.
The Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) project represents a significant leap forward in India’s transportation infrastructure. By prioritizing efficient freight transportation, the DFC aims to boost economic growth and reduce logistics costs. With the milestone of 100,000 trains achieved and the ongoing progress in commissioning the corridor, the DFC is poised to revolutionize freight movement in the country.
As the DFC continues to develop and expand, it promises to unlock new opportunities for trade, enhance connectivity, and bolster the overall logistics ecosystem in India. With its dedicated tracks and advanced infrastructure, the DFC will not only alleviate congestion on existing railway networks but also facilitate smoother and more efficient transportation of goods across the country.
The successful implementation of the DFC is a testament to the Indian government’s commitment to modernizing the country’s transportation infrastructure and realizing its vision of becoming a global economic powerhouse. With the completion of the DFC, India is set to achieve greater operational efficiency, faster delivery of goods, and a more competitive logistics sector.
The dedicated efforts of railway authorities, including Jaya Varma Sinha and the Railway Board, have played a pivotal role in reaching this significant milestone. Going forward, the completion of the remaining sections, including the crucial Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) connectivity, will further enhance the DFC’s capabilities and solidify its position as a game-changer in the realm of freight transportation in India.
In conclusion, the Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) has reached a remarkable milestone of running 100,000 trains. With the Eastern and Western corridors witnessing substantial train operations and the continuous commissioning of sections, the DFC is on track to revolutionize freight transportation in India. The project’s significance in lowering logistics costs, boosting trade, and improving connectivity aligns with the country’s long-term economic goals. The successful implementation of the DFC is a testament to India’s commitment to infrastructure development and sets the stage for a more efficient and competitive logistics sector in the years to come.