How Door-to-Door Parcel Services by Railways-India Post Can Help You
In a one-of-its-kind initiative, Indian Railways and India Post have formally launched the ‘Rail Post Gati Shakti Express Cargo Service’, a Joint Parcel Product (JPP) that will offer door-to-door pickup and delivery of parcels that are more than 35 kilograms.
In the initial phase, 15 pairs of trains will run. With this project, the Union government’s two most trusted departments for dealing with parcels are coming together to provide seamless services.
After a successful pilot of these parcel services, the duo joined hands for the official launch of the project on Thursday. The pilot weekly service was launched in March 2022 between Surat and Varanasi.
In the national capital, the Express Cargo Service started from ICOD Okhla for Kolkata, along with trains from Bengaluru to Guwahati, Surat to Muzaffarpur and Hyderabad to Hazrat Nizamuddin that were launched simultaneously.
Time-tabled, dedicated trains for parcels
Speaking to News18, Divisional Railway Manager (DRM), Delhi, Dimpy Garg said the focus of the JPP model is to provide an integrated service to the customer, with the first-mile and last-mile service for parcels being executed by the Department of Post and the middle-mile transportation being handled by the Railways.
One of the biggest benefits of booking the parcel under this scheme is that the trains operated under JPP scheme are time-tabled with scheduled departure and arrival, he said.
“So far, the two departments were running their services separately. JPP is a structured system for any parcel above 35 kilograms. These will be time-tabled trains so people will know at what time the train will reach the destination,” he said.
Garg explained that the trains will also have dedicated stoppages, just like express or mail trains and the stoppage at these stations will be long enough to load and unload the parcels.
Door-to-door parcel service
Senior Divisional Commercial Manager (DCM) Freight Anand Mohan explained that this will be a door-to-door service.
“Also, people will be charged based on the exact weight and distance. Pricing for the first time has been made on per kilogram and per kilometre basis, doing away with the slab system,” he told News18.
He explained that India Post will pick up the consignment at the doorstep of the customer and transport it to the nearest railway station. The transportation of the parcel to the destination station will be the railway’s job. From the destination station till the last mile, India Post will transport the consignment.
“The transportation of the parcel will be done in secured sealed boxes and the postal department will offer a third party insurance facility at an affordable rate of 0.03 per cent of cargo value to the customers availing JPP Service.”
Bike, car, hazardous items not allowed
For now, it appears that the service caters more to small businesses than the common man. However, there can be several occasions when it can be very useful for the general public as well, say if you want to shift homes.
When asked about this, Garg explained that this service can be used for shifting but hazardous items that are anyway not allowed in the Railways will also not be given permission for transport.
“Also, currently people cannot send their bike or vehicles from this service,” he said, adding that this is a very new initiative which will be flexible and adapted as per the requirement.
He also said a variety of products can be transported with this service. “With this service, customers will get palletisation, time-tabled runs, end-to-end logistics service, single documentation, insurance cover, reliability, safety, availability and cost effectiveness,” he added.
He said while two units are working, India Post will be the single point of contact for the customer for the despatch of consignment from pick up till delivery.
So why exactly should the common man use this service?
Mohan explained that it has competitive pricing and will ensure timely transit. First mile and last service charges at Rs 6 per kilogram give a competitive and cost-effective solution to customers in comparison to existing road rates.
“The consumer can trace and track their parcels continuously and have an option of round the clock call center as well. They will get insurance and claim settlement within stipulated time.”
Mohan also said that a mobile app is also being developed where customers availing JPP service can book the consignment with online payment facility and also can track the status of consignment with live tracking facility.
He also said that an online portal is being developed. For those who want to book the parcel in the current phase, until the portal is developed, they will have to go to the nearest post office or book it on phone. “Once the portal is ready, the parcels can be booked online and you don’t have to go anywhere,” he said.
Parcel handling thorough semi-mechanical methods
Garg said to safely and easily handle the parcel consignments, semi-mechanical methods are used. All the parcels are packed and palletised into covered and sealed boxes at the parcel aggregation centers.
“Further, mesh-type boxes are used for stacking and transporting the collected parcels. Ball deck flooring at both aggregation centers and also in parcel vans have been provided for easy movement of the boxes. Fork-lifts are used for easy and safe movement between aggregation centers and parcel vans among others,” he said.
15 tonnes of Cadbury chocolates loaded from Renigunta
South Central Railway commenced its first parcel train service under the JPP from Kacheguda Railway Station on Thursday to Hazrat Nizamuddin.
According to an official from the South Central Railways, 15 tonnes of Cadbury chocolates loaded from Renigunta were also attached by this train.
The Rail Post Gati Shakti Express Cargo Service, which started on Thursday, will operate from Renigunta to Hazrat Nizamuddin four times a week and pass through Kacheguda, Nagpur, Bhopal and Tughlakabad.
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