AIBX Rail Webinar Series 1: Exploring opportunities for collaboration in the India’s Dedicated Freight Corridor project

Post Event Insights:

Context: Austrade in partnership with Rail Analysis, organised a webinar on exploring opportunities for collaboration in the India’s Dedicated Freight Corridor projects. Dedicated Freight corridors will have a massive impact on the manufacturing sector of India which will directly lead to increase in the movement of logistics and reduction of time and costs while providing a dedicated corridor for movement of goods on trains with higher speeds and more haulage capacity.  In the first phase, DFCCIL is constructing the Western DFC (1504 Route km) and Eastern DFC (1856 route km including PPP section of Sonnagar-Dankuni Section). 

Recently, Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi had inaugurated two sections of DFC on Eastern and Western Corridors : New Khurja- New Bhaupur section on Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor and Rewari – Madar section on Western corridor on 29th Dec, 2020 and 7th Jan, 2021 respectively. The remaining part of these corridors are expected to be completed soon. Further, New Corridors : East Coast Corridor from Kharagpur to Vijayawada, East West Corridor from Bhusawal-Kharagpur-Dankuni and North South Corridor from Itarsi to Vijayawada are under planning with the Detailed Projects Reports (DPRs) being undertaken in the first phase. 

Key Insights of the Webinar: 

This webinar was hosted on 22nd April, 2021 with participation of relevant Australian and Indian stakeholders focused on latest developments on the DFC project and to have a productive discourse and knowledge sharing about potential collaboration between Australian and Indian companies. 

  • In reference to new opportunities and possible collaborations between Australian and Indian companies for the DFC Projects, Mr. R.K Jain, Managing Director, DFCCIL  welcomed all the Australian companies who are willing to participate and suggested that they must partner with an Indian company through a Joint venture or partnership of some form and ensure that it must be long term in nature, possibly focusing on technology transfer. This will ensure a collaborative approach along with a long term relationship between all stakeholders. Additionally, immense focus will be on Operation and Maintenance ( O & M ) for the DFC projects. Technologies which are not available in India are needed especially focused on reducing the O&M costs. 
  • On installation of Machine Vision systems for inspection of Rolling Stock for the corridors , Mr. R.K Jain shared that the rolling stock will be of Indian Railways but when these will run on DFC tracks, it will responsibility of DFCC team to monitor for their safe operations. They have already gone for 11 locations for fitting of Wheel Interaction system and OMRS to detect the same. Additionally, they also welcome any further latest technology for improving the maintenance of rolling stock or their inspection with the latest but also an economical system .
  • Mr. Mangal Dev, Head of Hitachi Railway Systems Business – India and South Asia also shared his experience along with reiterating that there is a huge scope for Australian companies in the EPC projects or in the technology sector to come over to India and find a suitable partner in India. Further, He shared that about their experience in Indian market. The DFC project is divided into two phase-1 & 2; Hitachi is involved in both. For Phase-1 & 2, Hitachi is providing Automatic Train Protection to enable operations at 100kph speed with 10 minutes headway using TPWS with both trackside and onboard Signalling to the drivers of electric locomotives as this corridor is electrified (2X25 kV AC OHE, first time) and for the entire corridor.
  • In reference to the working with DFC projects, Mr. R.S Malik, Vice President / Head Railways, GMR Group explained there is a tremendous scope of innovation and cost optimization in future DFCC projects which are going to be on PPP basis also. PPP projects of DFCC such as Sonagar-Gomoh and Gomoh-Dankuni and three future Dedicated Freight Corridors are also coming which present excellent opportunities for all stakeholders.
  • Mr. Ravi Ravitharan, Director of Monash Institute of Railway Technology (IRT) highlighted the importance of training and development of Human capital along with adopting latest technology for the projects in India. There is a huge resource of know how and talent pool in Australia for Heavy haul rail projects which can be utilized in India for the operations and maintenance of the upcoming freight corridors.Talking about his role & involvement with Freight corridor projects, He shared that the Australian Rail Heavy Haul Railway which is identified as a benchmark with a humble beginning in 1969, the heavy haul operations in the Pilbara which is currently leading the world in Weight and Length. Through their strategic approach in long term research and development and their group which was originally part of BHP Research –  Melbourne laboratories which is now known as Monarch Institute of Railway Technology has been supporting to transform the Heavy Haul railways not only in the Pilbara region , they also have heavy haul operations in New South Wales, Hunt Valley and Queensland. They are also creating a new freight corridor called Inland Rail from Melbourne to Brisbane.
  • Mr. Munish Sharma, Trade Commissioner – Austrade welcomed participants from both Australia and India. He said that the DFC project is expected to have a significant positive impact on the economic development of India through efficient movement of goods and reduction in overall logistics cost. He also talked about Australian capabilities in heavy haul and rail freight sectors including running of the world’s heaviest and longest heavy haul trains and Australian research centres having a strong record of innovation and R&D across the rail freight and heavy haul . He mentioned that the DFC project provides good business and partnership opportunities for relevant Australian stakeholders in this space.

Conclusion: There is a significant opportunity for companies specializing in Operations and Maintenance of Heavy Haul Railway corridors and the existing freight corridors ( nearing completion ) which present vital opportunities for Australian and International companies for partnering in India.

Learn more about Australian rail capabilities here : Link