expected to lead to a moderate upward movement in freight rates in the short term, say consultants. A likely revival in sectors like cement, steel and agricultural products is also expected to come as a breather for truckers.
The Indian Road Freight Index, collated by Transport Corporation of India, forecasts January freight rates to remain firm because of the improved industrial output and the approaching financial year end of many companies.
"There is not much of idling of truck operators as we are seeing the demand picking up in the market from December," said Umesh Govind Revankar, managing director, Shriram Commercial Vehicle Finance. "We expect the freight rates to remain steady for the remaining three months (January-March) of this financial year."
Karl Slym, managing director, India operations, Tata Motors, recently told brokerages that the company expects M&HCV to see a 10-15% compound annual growth rate in tonnage growth over the next 5-10 years.
It is noteworthy that in 2011 there was bulk re-buying by truck operators due to the new emission norms that kicked in in the latter half of the year. This is also seen as another reason why demand for new trucks was impacted in 2012.
"We expect the demand for commercial vehicles, especially medium and heavy trucks, to go up by end of 2014, wherein government takes steps to boost the power, infrastructure and engineering sectors. Moreover, the coal and mining sector is integral to the demand for heavy trucks," said Revankar of Shriram Commercial Vehicle Finance.