The Delhi Mumbai Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC)

The building of Regional powerhouses creates world class infrastructure and, accelerates industrial clusters and specialisation. However, there is an impact on the Informal Economy. The Delhi Mumbai Dedicated freight Corridor is another case in point.[i]


The Government of India has announced the development of the Dedicated Freight Corridor between Delhi and Mumbai, covering an overall length of 1483 kms and passing through seven States. The DFC will offer high speed connectivity for High Axle Load Wagons (25 tonnes) of Double Stacked container trains and the roads will parallel the tracks.


The concept offers significant opportunities to develop high-speed connectivity within a band of 150 kms either side of the rail and road arteries. The vision is to create a strong economic base within the band with a globally competitive environment and state-of-the-art infrastructure to activate local commerce, enhance foreign investments and attain sustainable development.


The DFC will generate investments of $90 Billion, offering employment opportunities for over 67% in the manufacturing and processing industries. 


It will be useful to explore the impact upon the local informal economy, and to trace whether the displacement of traditional informal activity gives rise, or not, to other informal configurations such as outsourcing to support the manufacturing sector that will emerge in the corridor. 


And another cautionary note would be to remind ourselves of those specialist towns all over Europe and North America where the impact of lower cost production in another part of the world can destroy an industry and depress a whole region rapidly. Think of Lowell, Massachusetts – once the largest shoe manufacturing town in the world eventually undermined by cheaper producers elsewhere and condemned to a lengthy decline. Think of all of the rust belts throughout Europe, North America and even Asia. Further back, think of the Indian textile industry of the 18th century which was dominant worldwide only to be destroyed by the suddenly superior technology of the British mills of the 19th century.


[i] Department of Industrial Policy & Promotions, Ministry of Commerce & Industries, Government of India (2007)

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4 Responses to The Delhi Mumbai Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC)

  1. Ms Susravya says:

    Dear Sir,

    I enjoyed the opportunity to meet you and appreciate your input on meeting, which was obvious and very gratifying to us.

    Currently we are working on the assignment on tracking containers shipments as we are new to the subject we would like to you to assist in our report.

    Eargly looking foward to your positive reply.

    Msc Susravya

  2. Ms Susravya says:

    I would like to share my knowledge on Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC or Golden Quadrilateral of India) as I hail from India and worked for a Railway Consultancy India for the past one and half year.
    Golden Quadrilateral is the name christened to the rail connectivity between Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata (Calcutta) and Chennai (Madras) which when formed gives a quadrilateral shape with these cities acting as there vertices. The importance of the rail routes between these cities can be gauged currently handle over three-quarters of state operator Indian Railways’ traffic and India the second largest railway network in the world.
    Mega logistics hubs are being planned alongside the proposed Eastern and Western Dedicated Freight Corridors which are being planned in Phase I and foundation being laid for development of Eastern Industrial Corridor which would behave as feeder routes , alongside the Eastern Freight Corridor in the present Indian Railway Budget 2009/10.Private ownership of special purpose rolling stock for commodities and private operation of freight terminals will be encouraged.

    SPV (Special Vehicle Purpose) are widely used for PPV (Public Private Ventures) to handle funding and construction and also to take stakeholders, about two thirds of the DFC capital.
    To expedite the government approval for such SPV’s a fast track mechanism is being proposed aiming to reduce the present time of minimum one and half year from the start of construction,.
    Since major movements of freight is increasingly dependent on Container movements it is being planned that the present trains which are handling containers are have single stacking, this system to be changed to double stacking. Accordingly the axle load for design of DFC system has been kept at 32.5 tonne (RDSO standards), this will increase the cargo handling capacity to 25 per cent. The length of a conventional goods train is 650 m and runs at 75 km per hour, whereas for DFC the length of the train will be 1500 m and will run on the speed of 100 km per hour.
    As stated in the Indian Railway Budget 2009/10, foundation being laid for development of Eastern Industrial Corridor alongside the Eastern Freight Corridor Railways’ land banks to be productively utilized to catalyze development in thiscorridor.Investment in rolling stock production and assembly facilities proposed for development of rail based industrial cluster drawing upon advantage of proximity to mines, labour force and metal works market.

  3. robjbell says:

    Many thanks for these notes. You highlight the detail beind the plan helpfully.

    Since this Post, I have been looking at the nature of such corridors worldwide. For example,

    1. Global City Regions. Much work has been done on these. There are more people live in urban areas than rural these days. this is a historical first and, 50 City Regions generate >60% of global GDP. In many cases, the City Region is stronger than the countries they are located in! Yorkshire 7 Humber in the UK is an Economy bigger than Belgium. Have a look at the work of Saskia Sassen.

    2. Pearl River Delta. Many Regions develop clusters (see Michael Porter re Competitive Advantage of Nations) and, these could be Food; Leather; Auto; or whatever. Pearl River Delta started with a cluster for Infrastructure; another for Construction
    and these built the spatial capacity to cope with more conventional industrial clusters.

    Pearl River Delta worked on the synergies between places throughout a Region and, generated the facilities and services to attract demand.

    Think of the Mumbai – Delhi corridor in this way.

    3. Spatial Development Initiatives. Africa has a number of these. Have a look at the Maputo corridor.

    Of course, the purpose and the scope of each of the above differs greatly. My point in this post is that whilst the approach is needed we must be careful to factor in what happens to the local population under the changes. For example, Nigeria invested heavily in the Oil industry and the facilities needed to deliver output. However, they ignored the social contract between locals and the projects. This turned oil into a curse rather than an opportunity to build an inclusive set of value chains.

    Any thoughts?

  4. Great Post, I love to read articles that are informative and actually have good content. Thank you for sharing your experiences and I look forward to reading more.

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