Dedicated Freight Corridors

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: September 13th, 2023

Dedicated Freight Corridor means those railway routes that are being constructed for the purpose of freight traffic. It consists of many freight loading terminals but no passenger railway stations or terminals. Dedicated Freight Corridors are meant for only freight trains as they run over them and stopping only at the designated freight loading or unloading terminals. In other words, no passenger train is supported to run on these Corridors.

There are two types of trains including those carrying passengers and other one carries material known as Freight trains. Indian Railways are a bit complex in terms of the passenger business. As per Railway Minister, Piyush Goyal, the complexity of the passenger businesses can be gauged from the fact that on daily basis, more than 2.3 crore passengers are carried on the railway network between roughly 8500 Railway stations. The freight side is similarly very complex with daily over 30 lakh ton of freight being transported making it the 4th largest carrier of freight globally. Coal alone accounts for a bulk of originating tonnage of freight side with more than 90% of coal being moved in the country through India’s railway network. There are lots of things which can be transported from one place to another through the railway routes only. One of its examples can be considered as coal.

Issues with Current Railway Freight Transportation

  • It can be seen that the Indian Railway routes carry mixed traffic. In other words, it means that various types of freight and passenger trains run on the same railway track with different speeds.
  • There are various types of Passenger trains that run at higher top-speeds from 90kmph to 160 kmph.
  • But the speed of freight trains is low as 70kmph-90kmph.
  • The fact can’t be denied that the priority is always given to the higher speed train and slower one is forced to make an unscheduled stop so that it can give a pass to the faster one.
  • This eventually increases the unscheduled stoppages of slower trains so as to give a pass to the faster train.
  • Such kinds of stoppages of slower trains drastically reduce the sectional capacity of the route in terms of the number of trains that can be run over it per day.
  • The efficiency is further reduced.
  • The average speed of Freight train is 30-40 kmph and the Average speed of the Passenger train is 60-70 kmph.
  • All these factors enhance the operational cost.
  • Passenger traffic is more in Indian Railways which either directly or indirectly affects the speed of Freight trains as they are stationary for a longer time than they are running.
  • Due to the increase in the Operational cost of Freight trains, the competitiveness of India Railways is eroded.
  • No timetable is there for the freight trains and hence, there lies no guarantee about when a freight train will be able to reach its destination.

Aim of DFC

  • To create additional railway infrastructure to carry unfulfilled demand and to cater to future demand.
  • Segregation and specialized management of Freight traffic on DFC and Passenger traffic on Conventional track.
  • Running Freight trains as per a definite time table with a guaranteed delivery schedule.
  • Enabling higher freight of speed trains thereby, enabling higher productivity and lower cost of transportation.
  • Use of latest and cost-effective practices in train operation and maintenance, with optimum use of state of art technologies.
  • Increase the share of rail traffic by offering customised logistic services to different industries and markets.
  • Freight Corridors will connect rural economy to Indian economy in a cheap, fast and synergistic manner, we need good transport systems to complement digitally local markets connected to e-NAM Agricultural Markets.
  • Dedicated Freight Corridors are meant for cheap and fast long- haul rail freight connectivity of inland areas of India to see ports via the industrial corridors envisaged to be built on both its sides.
  • Rural roads network is being made the focus to develop the rural economy and is linked to Natural Highway Grid via Bharatmata Project.
  • Linking the farms via Bharatmata and Direct Freight Corridor freight service to Sagarmala ports will allow cheap and fast exports and higher earning for the farmers.

Need of DFC’s in India

  • So as to increase the inter-operability, we need to construct new routes in the form of corridors.
  • Due to the high level of saturation on the Eastern and Western Corridors, congestion and disruptions in the timely delivery of raw materials along with the intermediate inputs in the supply chains can be witnessed.
  • Railways are losing the modal share in freight traffic from four-fifths in 1950-1951 to one third now due to the saturation in railways along with the existence of other modes especially roads.
  • A special purpose vehicle called the dedicated Freight Corridor Cooperation of India Limited (DFCC) was incorporated on 30-08-2006 as a company under the Ministry of Railway for construction for the purpose of operation and maintenance of the DFC in India.

Five Freight Corridors by Indian Railways

  • Indian Railways DFC Project involves constructing five Freight Corridors across the country, out of which, first two freight Corridors includes Eastern Freight Corridor from Ludhiana to Delhi covering a distance of 1856 kms and Western Freight Corridor from Delhi to Jawaharlal Nehru Port covering a distance of 1504 kms.
  • Both are built at a cost of 81,000 crores.
  • Three New Corridors are as:
    • 2328 Kms long East-West Corridor between Kolkata and Mumbai.
    • 2327 Kms long North-South Corridor between Delhi and Chennai.
    • 1114 Kms long East Coast Corridor between Kharagpur and Vijaywada.
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