Special Parcel Train To Bangladesh With Red Chillies


Picking up the economic activities in the post lockdown, Indian Railways has carried out a special parcel service to Bangladesh, a first international cargo express, covering 1372 km distance for transporting chillies.

Focusing on efficient and customised freight operations, the special 16-parcel vans train from Guntur, chugged off on Friday carrying 384 tonnes of chillies worth Rs 18 lakh to Benapole in the neighbouring country, heralding a new trend for transportation of agri merchandise from this area.

Guntur is the hub of exports of chillies and different spices. With an acreage of 75,000 hectares, the district is among the many prime chilli producing states in the country.

Considering the excessive demand for export of chillies and different spices like turmeric, ginger, onion, cumin seeds to Bangladesh, a proposal has been made for operating a Time-Tabled Parcel Cargo Express from Guntur to Benapole in Bangladesh.

Though we are sending mango, fish and milk in parcel service within the country, it is the first time that parcel train was operationalised for beyond the border, said a senior railway official.

Guntur district has been an epicenter of manufacturing, aggregation and processing of chillies and different spices. The booming cultivation of those merchandise is sustained with a wonderful ecosystem of mirchi yard, processing centres and a series of chilly storage services with deep export networks.

The official said while the first parcel train left Guntur on July 10, efforts are on to send the next cargo shortly as there is a growing demand for it.

Guntur and its surrounding areas in the state of Andhra Pradesh are well known for Chillies cultivation. The quality of this farm produce is internationally renewed for its uniqueness in taste and brand.

Earlier, the farmers and merchants in and around Guntur area have been transporting dry chillies by road to Bangladesh in small quantities and that was costing around Rs 7000 per tonne.

During the lockdown period, they could not move this essential commodity by the road. Then railways approached the consignors and explained the facilities to transport by rail.

Accordingly, one Special Parcel Express train consisting of 16 Parcel Vans moved to Bangladesh. Each Parcel Van was loaded with 466 dry chillies bags, weighing around 19.9 Tonnes and the total weight carried by the Special Parcel Express is around 384 Tonnes.

The cost per tonne for carrying by Special Parcel Express is Rs 4,608 and which is very cheap and economical as compared to road transport.

It may be noted that Indian Railways has taken a series of steps to boost parcel train traffic during the Covid period.

Transportation of essential items like medical supplies, medical equipment, food, etc in small parcel sizes are very important items that needed for business as well as consumption purposes.

Earlier dry chillies were carried by rail in bulk through goods trains. But for moving the consignment by goods trains, it is mandatory for the farmers and merchants to mobilise the quantity in bulk which is at least more than 1500 tonnes in each trip.

In order to mitigate this problem and to facilitate the rail users to move their quantities in small quantities up to a maximum of 500 tonnes in each trip, Guntur Division of South Central Railway took the initiative and moved the Special Parcel Express to Bangladesh.

South Central Railway General Manager Gajanan Mallya, and the Railway Board have very proactively pursued the proposal with the Bangladesh government and obtained the permission for operating parcel cargo into Bangladesh in a very short time. Adviser (Railways), Indian High Commission in Bangladesh, Anita Barik, too has actively piloted the proposal with Bangladesh Railways.

This has helped the farmers and merchants of Guntur to market their farm produce beyond the country border by transporting the Dry Chillies in small quantities through Special Parcel Express.

In order to fill in this vital need, Indian Railways has made railway parcel vans available for quick mass transportation by E-Commerce entities and other customers including State governments. Railways has been running time-tabled Parcel Special trains on select routes, to ensure uninterrupted supply of essential items.

The total of 4434 parcel trains have run from March 2020 till July 11 out of which 4,304 have been time-tabled trains.