In the last fifty years i.e. from 1970-71 to 2017-18, the freight business has increased from 167.39 million tonnes to 1159.55 million tonnes.
Indian Railways freight business increases by 7 times! In the last almost fifty years, that is from the period of 1970-71 to 2017-18, the freight business of Indian Railways has increased from 167.39 million tonnes to 1159.55 million tonnes. To a question in Lok Sabha, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal recently replied that several measures have been taken by Indian Railways to increase its freight business. Some of the major steps include the adoption of rake load concept, designing new wagons with higher payload, containerization, long term tariff contract policy, private freight terminal policy, own your wagon scheme and freight incentive schemes.
According to the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Limited (DFCCIL), an SPV under the Ministry of Railways, the linking of Delhi, Howrah, Chennai, Mumbai, also known as the Golden Quadrilateral along with the two diagonals, Delhi-Chennai and Mumbai-Howrah, carries more than 52% of the passenger traffic and 58% of revenue earning freight traffic of Indian Railways.
DFCCIL also claimed that the national transporter lost the share in freight traffic from 83% in 1950-1951 to 35% in 2011-2012, since the existing trunk routes of Mumbai-Delhi and Howrah-Delhi were highly saturated. Apart from this, the National Highways along these corridors comprising 0.5% of the road network carried around 40% of the road freight.
Thus, to deal with this, the DFCCIL is coming up with two Dedicated Freight Corridors (DFCs)- Eastern DFC and Western DFC. For both these corridors, Rs 81,459 crore is being invested. The total length of these two corridors is 2,822 km (except the section between Sonnagar and Dankuni), with Eastern corridor covering a distance of 1,318 km and Western corridor covering a distance of 1,504 km. With the development and commencement of Eastern DFC and Western DFC, Indian Railways eyes to regain its market share of freight transport.