New Delhi: The Railways today opened its parcel business segment to container train operators to run “parcel special trains” in a bid to shore up its earnings.
“Parcel business is increasing as it is a fast moving sector. We want to increase our parcel share which is currently not much,” Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said after announcing the liberalised parcel policy here.
The Railways earn about Rs 2,000 crore a year in parcel business. It has set a target of Rs 3,000 crore for the current fiscal.
The commercial wing formulate strategies so as to encourage the agriculture / poultry trade to utilize railways for transport of perishable commodities including poultry products such as eggs, apart from Electronic Goods and Pharmaceuticals will be beneficial from the facility.
As per the new policy, container train operators (CTO) will be allowed to operate parcel special trains consisting of parcel vans. A parcel special train will have 20 parcel vans.
Prabhu said the initiative was mentioned in the rail budget. The facility is sure to give a big fillip to the transport of perishable commodities including Eggs from the region towards consumer destinations. The VPU service will hold a capacity for transport of 23 Tonnes of commodity, he said.
CTOs will aggregate the parcel cargo from customers and offer the same in full rake load. At the respective destinations, parcel cargo will be delivered to CTOs for further segregation and handing over to customers.
Prabhu said the Post and Telegraph department also has ambitious plans to increase their parcel business and the Railways can tie up with them.
Railway Board Member (Traffic) Mohd Jamshed said parcel operation was being currently carried in a very limited way and efforts are on to increase it in a significant way.
Parcel policy has been liberalised now and all zones have been asked to run parcel vans on lease, Jamshed said.
Asked what kind of goods will be targeted for parcel services, the official said “basically, white goods can be transported in parcel. Pharmaceuticals, electronics and other similar items can also be transported in a big way in parcel.” The perishable commodities loaded from these destinations shall include agriculture produce, fish and eggs etc., Therefore, the VPU service will immensely serve the business interest of the poultry / farming community in the region in particular.
CTOs will be permitted to avail the facility at container rail terminals, domestic container terminals, inland container depot, multi-modal logistic park and all railway terminals.