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Railway ministry mandates online booking for goods transport starting Nov 1

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In line with its attempts to digitise its records, the Ministry of Railways has mandated online registration for transportation of goods with the national transporter. The new guidelines will come into effect starting November 1.


According to the notification issued by the ministry on Monday, the move has been undertaken “with the objective to achieve digitalisation, minimising detention to rolling stock and streamlining transactions in freight business.”


The new guidelines will apply to all indents placed with zonal railways, with the exception of military traffic, goods transported during natural disasters, and events identified as force majeure by authorities.


The new policy will replace the current practice of approaching goods clerks to register demand for wagons, and necessary changes in the digital infrastructure will be undertaken by the Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS) and Freight Operations Information Systems (FOIS).


“Necessary modifications shall be introduced into the system by CRIS/FOIS to enable e-RD (registration of demand) as default option for registration of demand for wagons,” the notification said.


An official said that loading of rakes in high-demand areas gets delayed due to the need for physical registration and verification at the time of booking and loading. These processes, once brought online, can marginally contribute to the national transporters’ attempts to decrease wagon turnaround time.


Under its ‘Hungry For Cargo’ mission, railways aims to record 2000 million tonne (mt) by 2024.


Recently, the ministry also digitised the entire process of applying for and awarding of non-fare revenue contracts such as parking lot operations, parcel space, and commercial publicity. So far, the national transporter has earned Rs 844 crore from the e-auction model.

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