India has been accorded a US $975 million loan to develop a dedicated rail line for a freight corridor, Eastern Freight Corridor-1 by the World Bank. The corridor is developed by Dedicated Freight Corridor Corp of India. When completed, it will improve the movement of raw materials and finished goods between the northern and eastern parts of the country. India’s first dedicated freight corridor is being built on two main routes – the Western and Eastern Corridors.
Once the corridor is ready, the Railways’ transportation capacity will get a boost as it will lead to building high-capacity, higher speed dedicated freight corridors along the golden quadrilateral – the highway network that connects India’s four metropolises viz. Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata. At present, despite carrying more than 50% of India’s total rail freight, these routes own only 16% of the railway network’s total length.
These dedicated corridors will also decongest the already saturated rail network and help in shifting freight transport from roads to railways which are more effective. As it is, freight traffic in India is expected to grow by at least 7% annually.