Indian Railways' freight business has grown seven times in nearly fifty years. From 1970-71 to 2017-18, the business has increased from 167.39 million tonnes to 1,159.55 million tonnes, the Financial Express reported.
Responding to a question in Lok Sabha recently, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal had said that the national transporter has been taking various steps to increase its freight business.
Some of the key measures it took comprise the adoption of rake load concept, containerisation, designing new wagons with higher payload, own your wagon scheme, private freight terminal policy, freight incentive schemes and long term contract policy.
The Golden Quadrilateral (Delhi, Howrah, Chennai and Mumbai) link along with Delhi-Chennai and Mumbai-Howrah transports more than 52% of the passenger traffic and 58% of the freight traffic of the Indian Railways, according to the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Limited (DFCCIL), an SPV under the Ministry of Railways.
DFCCIL also asserted that the Indian Railways lost the freight traffic share from 83% in 1950-51 to 35% in 2011-2012, as the existing trunk lines of Mumbai-Delhi and Howrah-Delhi were extremely saturated.
Besides, the national highways through these corridors composing 0.5% of the road network transported nearly 40% of the road freight, the report said.
Hence, to address this, the DFCCIL is going to come up with two dedicated freight corridors (DFCs) - Eastern DFC and Western DFC, with an investment of Rs 81,459 crore. The overall length of these two corridors is 2,822 km, (Eastern DFC- 1,318 km and Western DFC- 1,504 km).