E-tailers eye rlys, India Post for essentials

Digbijay Mishra and Madhav Chanchani

Bangalore: India's largest online retail platforms seek to take advantage of centuries-old Indian networks and eliminate supply chain bottlenecks to deliver essentials to consumers amid the national shutdown, three people aware of the matter said.

There was a meeting on Saturday night on the same topic between senior officials from government departments such as the Department of Industry Promotion and Internal Trade (DPIIT) and online platforms such as, Flipkart , third-party logistics company and Uber . Leading bureaucrats in consumer affairs, civil aviation, rail and India Post were also in attendance, sources added.

Since passenger trains are not running now, e-commerce companies are looking to use railways to send goods faster without traffic on the tracks. India Post, which has one of the largest last-mile delivery networks in the country, would also be helpful in getting essentials for consumers in major subways and smaller cities. India has more than 1.5 lakh post offices. A senior government official at DPIIT confirmed the development. This comes at a time when online platforms continue to fight against labor shortages, even when they offer double incentives for deliveries.

“Railways is doing messaging right now. You are ready to run additional services for e-commerce companies. The chairman of the railroad board was also present at the meeting (with online platforms). They can do these short services while running trains to the rhythm of Rajdhani (one of the fastest trains). India Post is already involved in essential services and they can do both: the first mile and the last mile, ”said this official.

Transportation from the railways will help e-commerce companies carry products from manufacturers to warehouses, as general trucking routes remain stuck, while India Post can act as a potential last-mile goods distributor, he said. someone else aware of what happened.

The talks with India Post are still in a discussion stage. What is being discussed are the post offices that serve as delivery locations where consumers can pick up fixed packages of essential items. Or the postman can also deliver these, the aforementioned source said. Another aspect being discussed is collecting orders and packages from large offline retailers, including D-Mart, to avoid overcrowding in stores. This is something that platforms have to decide. If they want to do this at scale and solve the current problem, they can do it, added the government official. According to him, the situation remains dynamic with daily improvements in the supply chain network compared to the previous week.

“To achieve the objective of moving essential supplies across the country, from our sellers/vendors to the customers, our teams are exploring all possible collaboration ideas, including the railways among several other innovative ideas,” said Rajneesh Kumar, chief corporate affairs officer at Flipkart. I added the company has been hiring and that it is offering incentives to supply chain and delivery executives engaged in grocery/essentials to strengthen delivery capabilities.

A spokesperson for Amazon India did not respond to TOI inquiries.