In order to ensure the uninterrupted and continuous flow of essential commodities in the market, the Indian railways has announced an on-demand parcel service for ecommerce companies such as Amazon, Flipkart and more.
The railway ministry has specified that services will also be available to other businesses, interest groups, organisations, individuals and other prospective loaders, according to an ET report. Businesses looking for services can reach out to railway officials at the zonal level. While passenger trains have been halted, services are operational for the supply of essential food and medical goods. At the same time, Indian Railways is also using some coaches as quarantine facilities for suspected and positive Covid-19 cases.
With the supply chain for essential items such as farm produce, grocery and medical supplies being impacted heavily by the lockdown measures across the country, the Indian railway service is offering a viable alternative to road transport for ecommerce and logistics players.
The announcement of on-demand parcel train services comes two days after the railway minister Piyush Goyal interacted with the top executives and CEOs of ecommerce players, online grocery delivery platforms and other companies that are ensuring the regular supply of essentials amid the lockdown. The attendees of the meeting included Amazon, Flipkart, Grofers, BigBasket, Snapdeal, Delhivery and more.
Goyal had sought an update on the issues related to the supply chain faced by these companies. The companies reportedly informed the minister that the supply chain issues have been solved to some extent, but there are still some challenges related to the shortage of manpower on the ground.
Goyal has been in touch with such companies to resolve any issue that has been arising while ensuring a constant supply of daily essentials. The companies had also met Goyal two weeks away to discuss the same matter. Besides this, Goyal had also held virtual discussions with several stakeholders from the ecommerce and logistics industry.
He tweeted saying he also discussed measures that can be taken to resolve issues as soon as possible. “We are committed to ensuring that essential goods reach the people in the most convenient and safest manner,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Indian government is also said to be in talks with homegrown ecommerce company Flipkart to lease out land parcels in smaller towns and cities to generate some revenue from the empty plots.