India to open two sections of dedicated freight corridor by 2012

India is planning to open two sections of the dedicated freight corridor project (DFC) by the end of 2012 - two years ahead of schedule.

The sections include a 120km freight corridor between Mughalsarai in Uttar Pradesh and Sonnagar in Bihar and a 140km line between Surat in Gujarat and Vasai Road in Maharashtra.

The freight corridor is part of a Rs770bn ($16.7bn) dedicated freight corridor project, which aims to build tracks to transport containers and commodities at a maximum speed of 100km/hr and reduce journey times.

The entire 3,300km rail corridor is divided in two parts, western and eastern, and is expected to give a boost to freight transport, ease infrastructure bottlenecks and boost industrial development.

Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation, a special purpose vehicle formed for executing the project, plans to award contracts worth Rs15bn ($326m) by mid 2012 for electrification and signalling works for the first phase of the eastern corridor.

For the western corridor, contracts worth Rs45bn ($976.9m) are set to be awarded by the end of the next year.

Japan International Cooperation Agency will be funding the 1,490km western corridor, stretching from Dadri in Haryana to Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust in Mumbai, while World Bank will provide financing for developing the 1,800km eastern corridor.

The entire corridor is scheduled to be completed by 2016-17.