Indian Railways plans to expand its door-to-door service to deliver smaller consignments to its customers across the country using postal services and is working with the department of post to bridge first and last mile connectivity gaps.
Such collaboration was launched during the nationwide lockdown in some parts of Maharashtra such as Mumbai, Pune and Nashik. Railway Board chairman Vinod Kumar Yadav has said these doorstep services will be now available across the country.
While speed post service is generally used for sending parcels, the larger idea was to use India Post’s network to pick up consignments from customers and deliver to the designated location at destination through special parcel trains. During the lockdown, it facilitated swift transportation services and sending consignments at the doorstep.
During the lockdown, Indian Railways transported essential commodities through freight trains, which meets the needs of bulk transportation, ferrying industrial commodities such as such as steel coal, iron ore, among others. However, there are various items that had to be delivered in smaller quantities that led to flagging off parcel trains, primarily for movement of goods within the state.
Since the outbreak of covid-19, the national transporter has been focusing on new streams of traffic, carrying agriculture products, medical equipment, among other things using parcel trains. Such commodities are typically transported via highways.
Currently, there are 4,701 parcel trains, with multiple stoppages.
In the current fiscal, the national transporter is looking to substantially grow its freight revenues as it expects earnings from the passenger segment to take a beating due to the covid-19 crisis.
To beef up its freight revenue, it has taken several measures in the last few months, including setting up of business development units, doubling the speed of freight trains from 23 kmph to 46 kmph, opening up of export traffic to Bangladesh for parcels and containers, opening up of export traffic to Bangladesh for automobiles, among others.