DFC: De­con­gest­ing In­dian Rail­ways

Touted as the next big thing for rail lo­gis­tics, the Ded­i­cated Freight Cor­ri­dor pro­ject (DFC) is fraught with chal­lenges. With a bud­get of a whop­ping ` 80,000 crore to de­con­gest the In­dian Rail­ways route, the DFC would take over al­most 70 per cent of the

Cargo Talk - - Front Page - ABEER RAY

QWhat

kind of im­pact will the Ded­i­cated Freight Cor­ri­dor (DFC) have on In­dian Rail­ways?

The Golden Quadri­lat­eral and its di­ag­o­nals con­sti­tute 16 per cent of the to­tal route length of the In­dian Rail­ways net­work but carry 58 per cent of the to­tal freight traf­fic. The lines are heav­ily sat­u­rated.

The Eastern and Western Ded­i­cated Freight Cor­ri­dors con­sti­tute 22 per cent of the to­tal In­dian Rail­ways traf­fic and 38 per cent of traf­fic on Golden Quadri­lat­eral. Upon its com­ple­tion, a ma­jor pro­por­tion of the freight traf­fic of In­dian Rail­ways will be di­verted to DFC which is why it is be­ing touted as a game changer for the lo­gis­tics sce­nario.

The av­er­age speed is ex­pected to be 70 kmph, more than dou­ble from the ex­ist­ing 25 kmph, which will bring a re­duc­tion in transit time. As of to­day, freight trans­porta­tion be­tween Delhi and Mum­bai takes two to three days by rail­ways; whereas by road, it takes more than three days. The DFC will de­liver the freight in just 20 hours.

The unit cost of trans­port would re­duce by 40 per cent. DFC routes are con­structed with dou­ble lines and have au­to­matic sig­nalling. So more than 150 trains can be run in each di­rec­tion. The stud­ies con­ducted by World Bank and Ja­pan In­ter­na­tional Co­op­er­a­tion Agency (JICA) forecast a traf­fic level of 264 MT for Eastern DFC and 284 MT for Western DFC over a pe­riod of 20 years. There are in­dus­trial cor­ri­dors com­ing up along the Eastern DFC and Western DFC.

QWhat

is the cur­rent sta­tus of the pro­ject?

DFC is one of the largest in­fra­struc­ture projects un­der­taken by In­dian Rail­ways, with a to­tal cost of $16 bn and a fund­ing ar­range­ment from World Bank for Eastern Cor­ri­dor and from JICA for Western Cor­ri­dor. The pro­ject is spread over a length of 3,350 km with more than three lakh Pro­ject Af­fected Per­sons. DFCC has been able to ac­quire 84 per cent of the land and is pur­su­ing for ac­qui­si­tion of the re­main­ing 16 per cent. The civil work on the Eastern DFC has com- menced. The to­tal length is 464 km - from Khurja to Bhaupur (342 km) and Mughal­sarai to Son Na­gar (122 km). Fur­ther con­tracts for sec­tion be­tween Bhaupur to Mughal Sarai, mea­sur­ing a length of 402 km, were awarded in March 2015. The Eastern Cor­ri­dor civil works will have phys­i­cally pro­gress­ing by al­most 66 per cent.

Also, it has fur­ther been planned to award 80 per cent of the con­tracts by March 2016 and the rest 20 per cent by June 2016. There­after, the work will progress in the en­tire Eastern DFC be­tween Lud­hi­ana to Son Na­gar.

The civil work on the Western DFC is al­ready in progress be­tween Re­wari to Iqbal­garh, hav­ing a length of 675 km (40 per cent of the sec­tion). Fur­ther, con­tracts for civil work be­tween Vado­dara and Vaitarna (320 km) were awarded in May 2015. The Western Cor­ri­dor civil works will have phys­i­cally pro­gress­ing by 64 per cent. Elec­tri­cal, sig­nal and tele­com con­tracts from Re­wari to Vado­dara (950 km) have also been awarded.

For the bal­ance por­tion of Western Cor­ri­dor, the ten­ders are be­ing pro­cessed and the plan is to fix all the con­tracts dur­ing 2015-16. The progress of work has im­proved ten­fold in Re­wari-Iqbal­garh and three-fold in the Khurja-Kan­pur sec­tion.

QBy

when do you ex­pect the oper­a­tions to be­gin?

The timeline for com­ple­tion of the Eastern Cor­ri­dor has been fixed for De­cem­ber 2019. We have planned to com­mis­sion the pro­ject in a phased man­ner in 2018-19. Sim­i­larly, for the Western Cor­ri­dor, the com­mis­sion­ing will be in phases with Re­war­iIqbal­garh stretch by De­cem­ber 2018 and the bal­ance por­tion by De­cem­ber 2019.

QWould

you elab­o­rate on the mul­ti­modal lo­gis­tics parks and pri­vate freight ter­mi­nals to be de­vel­oped on the DFCCI route?

The busi­ness pol­icy of DFCCIL is to pro­vide con­nec­tiv­ity to pri­vate freight ter­mi­nals, pri­vate sid­ings and ports wher­ever fea­si­ble. Steps have been taken to de­velop Multi-Modal Lo­gis­tics Parks (MMLPs) also and one MoU has also been signed with In­land Wa­ter­ways Au­thor­ity of In­dia to de­velop a mul­ti­modal ter­mi­nal near Varanasi in­volv­ing wa­ter­ways, road­ways and rail­ways. Busi­ness mod­els are be­ing evolved for de­vel­op­ment of MMLPs at var­i­ous lo­ca­tions and fea­si­bil­ity stud­ies have been com­pleted for the ar­eas near Sanand (near Ahmed­abad), Kan­pur.

QWhat

kind of cargo is ex­pected to be di­verted to the DFC?

Adesh Sharma Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor, Ded­i­cated Freight Cor­ri­dor Cor­po­ra­tion of In­dia (DFCCI)

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