The special parcel trains operated by the Indian Railways has earned Rs 7.54 crore by transporting 20,400 tonnes of essential items during the 21-day COVID-19 lockdown period. The special parcel vans were operated for facilitating mass transportation of essential goods by e-commerce entities and other customers, including state governments.
On April 14, 77 trains were loaded with 1,835 tonnes of vital goods, of which 75 trains were time-tabled special parcel trains. The Indian Railways earned Rs 63 lakh in a day. The Railways had operated a total of 522 special parcel trains on that day, including 458 timetabled trains that transported 20,474 tonnes consignment.
In a major boost to supply chains across the country, the Indian Railways for the first time introduced time-tabled parcel trains for nationwide transportation of essential commodities and other goods, the national transporter said on April 9, identifying 40 new routes for such vans. This move by the Centre boosted the availability of vital goods required for ordinary citizens, industry, and agriculture during the 21-day lockdown nationwide.
"Approximately, 58 routes (109 trains) for Parcel Special Trains have been notified since the start of the lock-down. Till April 5, 2020, 27 routes were notified, out of which 17 routes were regular scheduled services, while the remaining were for a single trip only," the railways said.
The Indian Railways has also been running other parcel trains as per the demand of customers during this period, which include 'Milk Specials' delivering milk products across several parts of the country.
"Time-tabled parcel trains are being run even on those routes where demand is less so that no part of the country remains unconnected. Some trains are being run with only two parcel vans, or with one parcel van and a brake van," the railways had said.
The Railways had announced the suspension of passenger, mail and express trains from March 24 to April 14 in the wake of the COVID-19 lockdown. However, with the extension of lockdown till May 3, it has extended the suspension and cancelled the ticket booking until further notice.