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Movement plays a very important role in the working of FCI as well as in fulfilling the objectives of Food Policy and National Food Security Act.

FCI undertakes movement of foodgrains in order to: 

  • Evacuate stocks from surplus regions
  • Meet the requirements of deficit regions for NFSA/ TPDS and Other Schemes
  • Create buffer stocks in deficit regions 

Punjab, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh are the surplus States in terms of wheat procurement vis-a-vis their own consumption. Punjab, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh/ Telengana, Chhattisgarh and Odisha are surplus States in terms of rice procurement vis-à-vis their own consumption. Surplus stocks of wheat and rice available in these States are moved to deficit States to meet the requirements under NFSA/ TPDS and other schemes as well as to create buffer stocks. 

On an average 40 to 42 million tonnes of foodgrains are transported by FCI across the country in a year. FCI undertakes massive movement operation of foodgrains all over the country encompassing around 1906 FCI owned & hired depots/Slios, 557 rail-heads (owned by Indian Railways and others) and 98 FCI own sidings. 

Movement Plan is prepared on monthly basis keeping in view: 

  • Quantity available in surplus regions
  • Quantity required by deficit regions
  • Likely procurement
  • Vacant storage capacity both in consuming as well as procuring regions
  • Monthly allotment/ off take of foodgrains 

Mode of Transportation 

Movement of foodgrains is undertaken by Rail, Road and Waterways. Around 85% of stocks are moved by rail to different parts of the country. Inter-State movement by road is mainly undertaken in those parts of the country which are not connected by rail. A small quantity is also moved by ocean vessels to Lakshadweep and A&N Islands as well as through coastal shipping and riverine movement to Kerala/Agartala (Tripura). 

FCI has 98 own Rail sidings, where foodgrain rakes are placed directly at FCI depots. Other than that, foodgrain stocks are transported ‘to and fro’ from the nearest rail-heads of Indian Railways.

FCI has been able to ensure availability of sufficient foodgrain in all States by proper planning. About a decade back, nearly 90% of stocks were moved Ex-North mainly from Punjab & Haryana, which has now come down to 72% due to increase in procurement of rice in Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha & West Bengal and wheat in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.

Other Initiative in Movement of Foodgrains  

FCI has been exploring the feasibility of moving food grains through multimodal costal/ riverine mode so as to supplement rail/road movement particularly for North Eastern States and Kerala and has made the following achievements:

  1. During 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16, 2016-17, 2018-19 and 2019-20 12778 MT, 97754 MT, 18677 MT, 13915 MT, 0 MT, 45204 MT and 44150 MT Rice moved from Andhra Pradesh to Kerala through multi-modal coastal movement.
  2. FCI moved 10,000 MT of raw rice (as a pilot project) through multimodal riverine movement from Andhra Pradesh to Tripura (NE) via Ashuganj Port in Bangladesh during 2014-15. 
  3. FCI moved 9691 MT and 2267 MT Raw Rice during 2015-16 and 2016-17 respectively through multimodal riverine movement from West Bengal to Tripura (NE) via Ashuganj Port in Bangladesh. 


FCI is also exploring containerized movement of foodgrains on certain routes through CONCOR/ Associates wherein it is found to be economical in comparison to conventional Railway rakes. In 2016-17, 13 such containerized movement was undertaken which led to freight savings of around Rs.44 lakhs. In 2017-18, 134 containerized rakes moved with approx. freight savings of Rs. 658 lakhs. In 2018-19, 167 containerized rakes moved with approx. freight savings of Rs. 787 lakhs. In 2019-20, 309 containerized rakes moved with approx. freight savings of Rs. 699 lakhs.


FCI is effectively optimizing movement in association with Railways, while minimizing cost. Demurrage and Wharfage were brought down from Rs. 195.73 Cr in 2012-13 to Rs. 25.36 Cr in 2019-20. No. of Rebooking(s)/ Diversion(s) have been reduced from 904 rakes (Rs 77.97 Cr) in 2012-13 to 05 rakes in 2019-20 (Rs 0.06 Cr). The Demurrage per MT has been reduced from Rs. 25.10/ MT in 2012-13 to Rs. 4.27/MT in 2019-20.