A tweet sent out by Amul to the Indian Railways culminated in a unique business deal between the two. There have been numerous instances of Twitter exchanges between organisations but rarely has online banter materialised into an actual business.
This time however, things were different. On 23rd October, Amul (@Amul-Coop), reached out to the Indian Railways (@RailMinIndia) on Twitter, enquiring about refrigerated parcel vans. Amul wanted to know whether these vans could be used to transport their famous butter across India.
The Ministry of Railways, using Amul’s famous tagline, tweeted back saying it would be utterly, butterly delighted to help the Taste of India reach every Indian.
The exchange continued on Twitter resulting in a meeting being set up in Anand, Gujarat on 24th October. Amul tweeted on the same day that the meeting had gone well.
The result was that the first refrigerator van with a consignment of Amul butter was flagged off from Palanpur to Delhi, on 11th November 2017.
The refrigerated van service was introduced by the Indian Railways a few years ago, with an aim to facilitate the transportation of perishable commodities, such as fruits, vegetables, frozen meats/poultry and chocolates.
These services existed only on specific routes as a result of which a large number of vans were lying dysfunctional. The South Western Railway has a few refrigerated vans, which can be repaired and used to assist Amul.
This deal will help Amul reduce delivery timelines significantly, and can be cost-effective in the long run, according to RS Sodhi, the Managing Director of the GCMMF, the co-operative body that manages Amul.
“Every month, we transport 10,000 metric tonnes of refrigerated products including butter, cheese, chocolate and ice-cream from Gujarat to various destinations in the country. All these products are currently transported via road. But we are exploring railway as a new mode of transport,” he says, in a Times of India article on 12 November, adding “For instance, a truck carrying refrigerated products reaches Guwahati on the tenth day. If we use train it will reach in 36 hours.”
Amul is also in talks with the Indian Railways to reduce the freight charges for transporting such products.