The completion of the Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) project in India is finally within reach, 17 years after it was approved by the Union Cabinet. The DFC is a major railway project that aims to create a dedicated freight corridor along the eastern and western arms of the Golden Quadrilateral, connecting Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, and Chennai.
According to the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Limited (DFCCIL), almost 80 percent of the 2,843-km DFC has become operational as of August this year. The remaining 187-km stretch of the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor (EDFC) and the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor (WDFC) are both close to completion.
The DFC project is expected to provide a dedicated corridor for freight trains, reducing congestion and turnaround time. Currently, passenger and freight trains share the same tracks, leading to delays and inefficiencies in freight transportation. With the DFC, freight trains will be able to operate seamlessly and at a faster pace, reducing the transit time from Mumbai to Delhi from three days to just 48 hours.
The DFC project has also involved significant technological challenges, including the construction of road overbridges, road under-bridges, and rail flyovers. The completion of the DFC will not only benefit freight transportation but also improve the efficiency of passenger train operations.
Once the entire corridor is complete, the DFC will have a significant impact on freight transportation in India. For example, the EDFC covers the coal and steel belts of eastern India, allowing for the efficient transportation of coal to power plants in other parts of the country. This has already resulted in cost savings for industries, such as a power plant in Punjab reducing its coal stock from 30 days to just 15 days.
The DFC is expected to increase the modal share of railways in freight transportation and reduce logistics costs, which currently account for around 14 percent of India’s GDP. With the dedicated corridor, rail transportation will become more reliable, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly.
Overall, the completion of the Dedicated Freight Corridor project is seen as a game-changer for India’s railways, providing a much-needed boost to freight transportation and contributing to the country’s economic growth.
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