Putting DFCs on the fast track

Lot of hopes are pinned to the DFCs that are expected to bring a paradigm shift in the way cargo moves across the length and breadth of the country. Anshuman Sharma, MD, DFCCIL in a oneto- one with Vijay Kurup, details on the progress in development of DFCs and their strategy to attract traffic to these corridors

Q Last week there was news that almost 100 per cent of the land has been acquired on the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor (WDFC). Is there a possibility that the commissioning of the WDFC would be advanced? When are the Phase1 and Phase 2 stretch of the WDFC likely to be commissioned?

The different stretches would be opened at different stages. The dates of the various stages are: Rewari – Marwar December 2018. Marwar – Palanpur September 2019. Palanpur Makarpura March 2020. Makarpura – Vaitarna – JNPT March 2020.

 Rewari – Dadri March 2020. The entire stretch would be completed by March 2020.

Q What has been the most challenging part of the work?

Definitely land acquisition has been the single biggest challenge. We have acquired 98 per cent of the land in the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor and we expect to complete the remaining acquisition soon.

Q In one of your brochures you have stated that Private Freight Terminal Policy, Port connectivity Policy, and Private siding Policy of DFCCIL has been approved. Could you expand on this?

DFCCIL has its own connectivity policy to attract maximum traffic to the planned corridors. These policies are separate for port connectivity, Private siding connectivity and Private Freight Terminal connectivity, bringing out clear eligibility conditions, actions to be taken, applicable Fees, Security deposits, etc for faster clearance of the proposals. This has enabled many brownfield and greenfield industries/players to finalise their business proposals.

Q One of the mandates of DFC is to provide a non-discriminatory access to freight trains of Indian Railways and other qualified operators. Could you elaborate on the modus operandi? How other qualified operators can partake in the DFC?

The revenue receipts of DFCCIL will be mainly through Track access charge payable by its users. Initially IR will be the sole user. But with the growing economy, policy initiatives and vast capacity being developed there are anticipations for more and more operators in future. The multi operator regime will require clear policies for access and charging methods without any element of discrimination. The issues will mainly be requiring licensing, safety clearances, rolling stock approvals etc, by the Ministry of Railways.

Q There is a reluctance of Indian companies to invest in logistics, because the return it offers on capital is much lower compared with other industries. What has been the response of private investors to build MMLP at nodal points along the DFC?

Infrastructure developments require long term investments and the derived benefits of developing economy normally speeds up the anticipated gains through other allied infrastructure like the corridors being built. With the business oriented policies of DFCCIL various proposals for setting up the Private Freight Terminals, Logistics Hub connectivity etc have been received. DMICDC and IWAI are having proposals for setting up these with connectivity to DFC corridor. Consolidation and de-consolidation of cargo at convenient location with facilitated warehousing, customs clearances etc reduce the normal logistics costs and time for the cargo which qualifies as the feasibility aspect of the logistics terminal.

 Connectivity would be provided only to our stations and not to mid sections. Line connectivity would have to be built by private train operators. So far 3 terminal operators have been approved.

 Q What is project Saksham?

Project “Saksham” is initiated by DFCCIL in association with CII for training and capacity building, skill development to the disadvantaged candidates to enable them earn livelihood. Under this initiative a total of 3400 beneficiaries from BPL and PAP (Project Affected Persons) categories have been trained at 11 locations and approximately 2200 candidates placed/ self-employed spanning across the Western and the Eastern Corridor networks of DFCCIL.

The program trains youth between 18 -30 years of age from BPL and PAP categories under short duration courses ranging from 200 to 250 hours including training on employability, social and soft skills.Assessments are conducted post completion of the training and successful candidates are provided suitable job opportunities.

 QTraffic on Eastern DFC comprises of bulk cargo and general goods. Is there scope for containerisation? AYes with the speed of delivery through DFCs the cargo flow in containers will get a big boost. It would not be double stack container movement. But if the container volumes arise we can have longer trains in this corridor.