Indian Railways Improves Freight Tracking via Newly Developed Portal

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The Centre for Railway Information Systems team has developed a Freight Business Development (FBD) portal, which will provide users with easy to access information on managing transport logistics via railway freight.

The new FBD portal will enhance customer-support services by facilitating the real-time monitoring of queries and tracking freight consignments through the “GIS-based track and trace provision”. The transporter can track the status of the goods in transit by providing the FNR (freight name record) number, which is an 11-digit number printed on top-left of the railway receipt (RR).

As per the railway authorities’ press release, other key features of the FBD portal include information on Rich Freight Calculator, terminal dashboard, details on freight incentive schemes, the Own-a-Terminal and Own-a-Wagon schemes and process details, and rich FAQs that will be updated regularly.

The FBD portal can be reached through the following pathway: click on the “Freight Business” dropdown option under the new “Freight Services” feature added at the top menu bar of http://www.indianrailways.gov.in/. The Freight Business portal can also be accessed directly at https://www.fois.indianrail.gov.in/RailSAHAY/index.jsp.

Companies that want to book Indian Railways for freight operations can view the distance and routes through Indian Railway’s Rates Branch System or Indian Railway’s Freight Operations Information System (FOIS) portal.

Further, the “RailMadad” Grievance redressal portal of the Indian Railways has been integrated with the new FBD portal for dealing with the queries of prospective and existing customers and directing them to the Freight Business Units of the Divisions.

The customer must submit a forwarding note that contains the details of the commodity being transported, originating and destination points (railway locations) to the goods clerk / chief goods supervisor at the loading location at the Indian Railways. The customer can register their demand electronically from the place of their convenience through the Indian Railway’s Freight Operations Information System (FOIS) e-Demand Service.

According to its records, the Indian Railways carry more than 1.2 billion tons of freight traffic every year over its 68,000 km of rail network.

Tax compliance for freight transport by rail in India

If the value of the goods being transported by rail exceeds INR 50,000 (approx. US$683), the business is required to generate an electronic-way bill (e-way bill). This bill documents the transport of goods from one place to another and is generated from the Goods and Services Tax (GST) portal.

For transportation of goods in relation to all types of transactions, such as outward supply whether within the state or interstate, inward supply whether from within the state or from interstate – including from unregistered persons or for reasons other than supply – an e-way bill is mandatory.

The e-way bill contains the information on the type and nature of goods being transported, names of the consignor and consignee, the transporter etc. The e-way bill can be generated by the consignor or consignee (and in case of road movement – can also be generated by the registered transporter).

Documents that are required when generating e-way bills are:

  • Tax invoice
  • Delivery receipt or challan
  • Transporter ID
  • Transport document number (RR number)

Since the transport of goods by rail first entails its transport by road, an e-way bill will be generated at the initial point of road transit. Subsequently, Part B of the e-way bill will need to be updated with the RR number – for which coordination with the concerned agent/supplier is important. Part B of the e-way bill can be updated either before or after the commencement of goods movement. The bill must be produced at the time of delivery.

The Indian Railways must carry the invoice or delivery challan or bill of supply along with goods. The Indian Railways shall not deliver goods unless the e-way bill is produced at the time of delivery.


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