Truck rentals down 27 percent in April-May 2021
India’s road freight transport truck has been hit hard by the second wave of the pandemic, with fleet utilisations down to around 35-40 percent as lockdowns strangled overall demand.
India’s road freight transport fleet has been hit hard by the second wave of the pandemic, with fleet utilisations down to around 35-40 per cent as lockdowns strangled overall demand. The result has been a cumulative 23-27 per cent decline in truck rentals during April and May 2021, according to the Indian Foundation of Transport Research & Training (IFTRT).
According to SP Singh, senior fellow, IFTRT, while a buoyant harvesting season has helped the road freight transport segment, the recent cyclones on the West and East coasts combined with fresh lockdowns to contain the virus has resulted in “cumulative truck rentals slumping 23-27 per cent in April-May 2021, with fleet utilisation having nose dived to 35-40 per cent”.
With fuel prices continuing to increase sharply, truck operators have been hit by a double whammy. “Poor truckers are not able to pay their EMIs. On May 29, 2020, diesel price was Rs 66.19, while on May 29, 2021, diesel price is Rs 92.23… Difference of Rs 26.04. In this last one year, the operating cost has increased by about 30 per cent,” said Kultaran Singh Atwal, president, All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC).
The industry body has requested the government to reduce excise duties and state VAT on fuel, a monthly or quarterly fuel pricing system instead of the current daily price revision regime, and a crackdown on corruption among transport officials.