Dedicated rail freight corridors look to rope in Amazon, Flipkart

The Rs 814-billion-project of Eastern and Western DFCs will cover a total of 3,360 km track, of which around 1,500 km falls in the western region
The domestic logistics industry got a boost with big e-commerce giants, such as Amazon and Flipkart, entering the arena. The industry is set to benefit again with the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India (DFCCIL) talking to e-commerce firms to rope them in for using its logistics hubs.


The move is expected to cut parcel delivery times drastically.


“This will be a game-changer for the parcel industry, as all the stations, small and big, will have dedicated hubs to handle parcel. This is expected to reduce the average time taken to deliver a parcel from Mumbai to Delhi from five days to 24 hours. Besides, hinterland customers will also benefit out of this through our intermediate stations," said a DFCCIL source in the know of the matters.


A major reason for the savings in delivery time will be the planned speed of trains in DFC. The average speed of freight trains was 22.4 kmph so far in 2019-20 compared to the expected speed of 75-100 kmph in DFCs.


This comes close on the heels of the Railway Board joining hands with Amazon for giving the firm’s parcels space in Sealdah and Mumbai Rajdhanis on a pilot basis.


According to a recent industry report by the Pitney Bowes Parcel Shipping Index, the logistics industry’s parcel volume and revenue saw over 20 per cent growth in 2018 compared to the previous year.


On the other hand, the Indian Railways is witnessing a decline in its parcel business. From April to October, its parcel business saw a decline of 5 per cent to Rs 811.38 crore, compared to Rs 851.45 crore during the same period in FY19. For FY19, the business saw a dip of 8 per cent to Rs 1,744.8 crore versus Rs 1,895.9 crore in FY18.


The e-commerce players will be able to use the hubs once the eastern and western dedicated freight corridors (DFCs) are fully operational by December 2021. According to the Railways, except the Sonnagar to Dankuni stretch in eastern DFC, rest of the project will be commissioned by 2021.


The project will be passing through Punjab, Haryana, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, and West Bengal. In December, DFCCIL approached several states to provide suitable road connectivity to each station on DFC, so that the industry can easily transport their goods traffic.


The Rs 81,400-crore eastern and western DFCs cover a total of 3,360 km track. Starting from Dadri, the western stretch will extend up to JNPT, covering major stations like Phulera and Marwar junction in Rajasthan, Palanpur, Amli Road (Sabarmati), Makarpura (Vadodara), Gothangam / Kosad in Gujarat and Vasai Road in Maharashtra. The eastern stretch will extend from Ludhiana to Dankuni, covering major stations like Dhandharikalan, Sirhind, Tundla, Bhaupur, Prempur, Karchhana, Jeonathpur, Mughalsarai, Ganjkhwaja, Sasaram, Son Nagar, Gomoh, Andal and Bardhaman.

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