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These two freight corridors will change the way India transports goods

Constituting a total of 10,122 kms, these corridors carry the heaviest traffic and are highly congested
India is all set to get its first publicly owned freight corridors on August 15. According to the Make-in-India report of 2017, three million tonnes of freight is transported through rail tracks daily. Moving freight by rail is cheaper and more eco-friendly than sending it by road. If you are wondering what are freight corridors and how Indian Railways is working on it, here is all you need to know. 

 
The corridors: Indian Railways is building two world-class freight corridors — Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor and  Western Dedicated Freight Corridor.   

What are dedicated freight corridors?

These are freight-only railway lines to move goods between industrial heartlands in the North and ports on the Eastern and Western coasts.   

Route: The dedicated freight-only lines are being built along the four key transportation routes – known as the Golden Quadrilateral and connecting Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Howrah and its two diagonals (Delhi – Chennai and Mumbai – Howrah). Covering a total of 10,122 km, these corridors carry the heaviest traffic and are highly congested. The route carries 52 per cent of passenger traffic and 58 per cent of freight traffic, according to the Make-in-India report of 2017.   

What is the need of Dedicated Freight corridors?

The two above-mentioned routes are highly saturated, with line capacity utilisation reaching as high as 150 per cent. Considering increased transport demands, overtly congested routes and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with road transport, the government had proposed this initiative.   

These freight corridors will help reduce the cost and allow faster transportation. Along with that, Indian Railways will open new avenues for investment, as this will lead to the construction of industrial corridors and logistic parks along these routes. 

Who is constructing?

To construct the special freight corridors, Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Limited (DFCC) was set up under Indian Railways in 2006. It was registered as a special-purpose vehicle under the Companies’ Act 1957. The DFCC is one of the largest ever infrastructure projects being undertaken by railways since 1947.   

What is the capacity of freight trains? 

Freight corridor will permit the trains to carry higher loads, in a more reliable manner. These lines are also being built to maximise speeds to 100 km an hour, up from the current average freight speed of 20 km an hour.   

Freight corridor envisages long-haul operations with trailing loads to increase from 5,000 to 15,000 tonnes and container capacity will go up to 400 per train. The DFCs will allow much shorter transit times from freight source to destination which means it will reduce the time by up to 50 per cent in some cases. 

What is the cost involved?

The cost for these Dedicated Freight Corridors along the Eastern and Western routes, spanning 3,360 route km, has been estimated at $ 12 billion. 

 
Key things about the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor   

Covering a distance of 1,856 km, Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor will be divided into two segments:   

1. An electrified double-track segment of 1,409 km between Dankuni in West Bengal and Khurja in Uttar Pradesh   

2. A single line segment of 447 km between Ludhiana – Khurja – Dadri   The corridor will pass through Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal. This project is expected to benefit the transportation of coal for power plants, steel, food grains, finished steel and cement. Along with the freight lines, logistics parks have also been planned in Kanpur and Ludhiana.

Key things to know about the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor   

The 1,504-km-long route — from JNPT to Dadri via Vadodara-Ahmedabad- Palanpur-Phulera- Rewari — Western DFC will pass through Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. It is proposed to join the Eastern Corridor at Dadri. This corridor also facilitates transportation of fertilisers, food grains, iron and steel and cement, among other commodities.   There are plans to set up Logistics Parks on the outskirts of Mumbai, especially near Kalyan-Ulhasnagar area or Vashi-Belapur. Additionally, other parks have been proposed in Vapi, Ahmedabad and Gandhidham in Gujarat, Jaipur and Delhi-National Capital Region.