Andhra govt requests dedicated freight corridor connectivity to its ports

The Andhra Pradesh government has requested the Railways to extend its dedicated freight corridor connectivity to ports in the state so that millions of tonnes of cargoes can be handled in a pollution-free and cost-effective manner.

In an indication of how significant the freight-only corridors could become for goods transport, Andhra Pradesh Maritime Board CEO NP Ramakrishna Reddy wrote to the Dedicated Freight Corporation of India Limited (DFCCIL), requesting its support in the state’s upcoming port development projects.

For this purpose, an MoU may be entered into to ensure better coordinated efforts, he said in the letter, dated August 10.

The DFCCIL is presently working on two corridors — Western Corridor and the Eastern Corridor. Four other corridors are proposed.

Talking about the areas the proposed DFC will touch in Andhra Pradesh, an official said as of now, it is planned till Vijayawada.

“From there, the freight trains will operate on feeder routes of the Indian Railways, which means it will not be a dedicated freight corridor, with both passenger and mail express running on them. Once an MoU is signed, the corridor can connect different ports in the state specifically,” he said.

In his letter, AP Maritime Board CEO Reddy told the DFCCIL that handling of cargoes at all the non-major ports — already developed or under development in the state is to be done either by road or rail.

He said the existing ports have rail links, but a DFC connectivity will catalyse the overall development of the ports.

Therefore, I request you to please support the port development that is going to be taken up in the State of Andhra Pradesh by ensuring dedicated freight rail connectivity, he said in the letter.

Andhra Pradesh has four ports in the pipeline for development by 2024 — the Bhavanapadu Port in Srikakulam District, the Kakinada SEZ Port in East Godavari, the Machilipatnam Port in Krishna District and the Ramayapatnam Port in Prakasham District.

With the development of these four non-major greenfield ports, it is targeted to handle about 300.00 to 350.00 MT cargo per annum by 2024-25, Reddy said in his letter.

The state’s ports presently have a handling capacity of about 100.00 MT per annum, the official said.

According to data shared by the Railways, total freight loading stood at 1,223.17 MT (million tonnes) in 2018-19, and 1210.46 MT in 2019-20.

In the current financial year, the Railways has loaded 322 MT of freight (April-July 2020) as against 394 MT in the corresponding period last year.

The Railways dedicated freight corridor (DFC) project involves the construction of six freight corridors traversing the entire country. The purpose of the project is to provide a safe and efficient freight transportation system.

The first two DFCs — the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor (WDFC) from Uttar Pradesh to Mumbai; and the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor (EDFC) from Ludhiana in Punjab to Dankuni in West Bengal — will decongest the railway network by moving 70 percent of goods trains to these two line.

They are both on track for completion by December 2022.

Around 56 percent of WDFC and 60 percent of EDFC is complete as of July 2020.