The Central government’s commitment to develop dedicated east coast and north-south railway freight corridors from Kharagpur in West Bengal to Vijayawada and Itarsi (Madhya Pradesh) to Vijayawada respectively is poised to give a fillip to goods transportation in Andhra Pradesh.
The Kharagpur-Vijayawada dedicated freight corridor (DFC) will be a double-line broad gauge electrified corridor that spans 1,100 km and the other one is a sub-corridor of roughly the same length.
The announcement in the Budget that the detailed project reports will be prepared for the two DFCs in the first phase is being hailed by industry and trade bodies as a big positive step for the State.
Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) A.P. chairman D. Ramakrishna told The Hindu that the DFCs would be of great utility for any State as the transit time of goods would be reduced to a large extent as the trains would be running at speeds of 100-120 kmph compared to a maximum of 80 kmph now (the average speed of a goods train at present is around 70 kmph).
He observed that dispatching goods through trains in the existing network was a painstaking process. This was because a train carrying goods from Vijayawada to Chennai, for instance, could take as long as 24 hours to reach the destination. In a DFC, the time taken to cover the same distance would be about five hours, he said, pointing out that the goods-in-transit is a significant cost factor. Plus, there were risks involved during the movement of goods from one place to another.
Mr. Ramakrishna said another good thing which the DFCs would be doing was to decongest the passenger lines and it would also augur well for maritime trade as it would facilitate quick turnaround time of goods at the seaports.