Amazon India has strengthened its partnership with the Indian Railways to transport consignments via “COVID-19 Parcel Special Trains” across the country. The new move by the US e-commerce giant will boost the delivery of essential items at the time of ongoing lockdown that is in place to limit the coronavirus outbreak. In 2019, Amazon had tied up with the Indian Railways to transport packages on 13 lanes. The company also partnered with the country's railway network to establish pickup kiosks for customers.
The Indian Railways has been running various COVID-19 Parcel Special Trains in the country to cater to the movement of essential commodities. Those trains will now be leveraged by Amazon for transporting e-commerce orders as well. “With the support of COVID-19 Parcel Special Trains introduced by the Indian Railways, we are confident that we can further fulfil customers orders with enhanced speed and capacity,” said Abhinav Singh, Director — Amazon Transportation Services, Amazon India, in a statement.
Due to the nationwide lockdown to limit the spread of the coronavirus outbreak in the country, Amazon and other e-commerce players aren't able to transport orders largely through their regular road and air networks. The government has also restricted their services only for items considered as essential by the Ministry of Home Affairs. Therefore, the partnership with the Indian Railways would play a crucial role in reviving Amazon's business in the country. It will help the company ramp up its operations to 55 lanes during the lockdown period.
Last week, Amazon launched its ‘Local Shops on Amazon' initiative to start selling goods directly from local shops in the country. That development would enable the company to scale its India business by bringing new offline retailers and shopkeepers on board. More than 5,000 retailers are already operating under the programme that has been in pilot for over six months.
Amazon and arch-rival Flipkart both are also actively urging the government to ease the sale of non-essential items during the lockdown. However, instead of granting their request, the government recently announced a decision to open nearby offline shops in non-containment areas across the country.
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