The Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India (DFCCIL) is reportedly in talks with ecommerce companies to rope them in for using their logistics hubs.
DFCCIL is a Special Purpose Vehicle set up under the administrative control of the Ministry of Railways which undertakes planning and development, mobilisation of financial resources and construction, maintenance and operation of the Dedicated Freight Corridors (DFCs).
The move by DFCCIL is expected to cut parcel delivery time to a large extent. For instance, with this, the time taken to deliver a parcel from Mumbai to Delhi will come down from five days to 24 hours.
According to the media report, the logistics industry’s parcel volume and revenue saw over 20% growth in 2018 compared to the previous year as per a recent industry report by the Pitney Bowes Parcel Shipping Index. However, the Indian Railways is reportedly seeing a downfall in its parcel business and the move is expected to revive the situation.
“This will be a game-changer for the parcel industry, as all the stations, small and big, will have dedicated hubs to handle parcel. Besides, hinterland customers will also benefit from this through our intermediate stations,” a DFCCIL source was quoted as saying by the Business Standard.
The eastern and western DFCs will be fully operational by December 2021. After that, ecommerce companies will be able to use the hubs. Except for the Sonnagar to Dankuni stretch in eastern DFC, the rest of the project will reportedly be commissioned by 2021.
Railway Board’s Tie-Up With Amazon
In July this year, there were reports of Railway Board giving Amazon, as part of its pilot project, space in two of its premium trains, namely Sealdah Rajdhani and the Mumbai Rajdhani for a period of one month.
As per the agreement, zonal railways will dedicate a space of 2.5 tonnes in the parcel van of the trains for loading and unloading of Amazon India consignments and the remaining space of 1.5 tonnes will be for railways.
The move, however, saw opposition from the Bharatiya Railway loading union, who had called for a strike, claiming this would cost them their livelihood.
Meanwhile, in September this year, the Indian Railways partnered with Amazon to set up pickup kiosks in four railway stations across Mumbai. The initiative was launched as a pilot in CSTM, Thane, Dadar and Kalyan.
The kiosks were reportedly placed in high foot traffic locations inside the station.
This was expected to provide easy accessibility and convenience to Amazon customers who can easily pick up their packages on their way in or out. Customers can select these points as a pick-up location on the checkout page of their order while shopping on the platform.
“Millions of people use the suburban railways as a primary mode of transportation. We welcome this partnership as the launch of Amazon kiosks will help elevate our commuters’ experience at these stations,” the Indian Railways had earlier said in a statement.