Indian Railways have decided not only to perform the traditional tasks of carrying passengers and goods efficiently, but also to change the mindset of working in a closed system. There has been a longstanding demand of the industry for transparency in sharing of information to give the customers an upto date businesslike environment.

1. Continuous cargo visibility has always been viewed as the most critical component of any physical distribution system. FOIS enables freight customers to have instant access to information regarding the current status of their consignments in transit, for just in time inventory. It is a system for management and control of freight movement that also assists managers to optimise asset utilisation.

2. FOIS comprises the Rake Management System (RMS) for handling the operating portion and Terminal Management System (TMS) pertaining to the commercial transactions. TMS has been installed at more than 300 locations and with the availability of infrastructure will cover all major handling points. As of June 2005, about 1500 reporting devices have been commissioned at more than 500 locations of Indian Railways. Railway owned digital microwave communication facilities complemented by channels hired from the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd., (BSNL) have been used to establish the network. The network is continuously being expanded to meet the growing demand.

3. FOIS has been designed to give strategic advantages to both Indian Railways and its customers. The implementation of the system is envisaged to eventually achieve the following:-

4. The system as implemented upto now performs the following functions:

5. With the use of the system there has been a visible reduction in the anxiety levels mental stress and confusion amongst railway customers and its operating staff. The voluminous and repetitive exchange of data on telephones round the clock has now been reduced and is gradually being replaced by minimum data input. The improved work environment has significantly simplified planning and execution of assigned tasks.

The system information is being used to club less than train load consignments from different loading stations. The words of appreciation from bulk customers who are being advised through e-mail the status of their consignments, is a clear indication that the anticipated benefits from FOIS have already begun to accrue to the customers. Interactive web based solutions to give customised reports to Railway Board, Zonal Railways and Divisions is in place

6. FOIS provides tremendous opportunities to both the Railways and their customers, to improve existing business practices and consequently reduce the operating costs while enhancing the quality of service. A full fledged Domestic Terminal Management System for CONCOR is already in place.

7. E-Payment of Freight: (i) During the month of Sept 2013 facility of e-payment was commissioned for 6 new customer while the facility of 80 existing customers was extended with renewal of their LC/BG. By the end of Sept 2013 e-payment facility has been provided to a total of 709 customers.

(ii) During Sept 2013 a total of Rs 5439 Cr of freight was realized to e-payment which was around 75.22% of the total freight.

8. Future Approach:

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