South moves to slow track

Updated: Jan 26 2002, 05:30am hrs
Freight rates for nine tonne payload from Mumbai to most parts of the country remained largely firm and at near last week levels.

However, Southern states, which had been witnessing good demand till mid-January, are moving to the slow track, according to transporters. Erratic weather continues to cause marginal changes in the rates to northern cities.

Last week, truck rates to Delhi corrected by Rs 200 to Rs 13,200 due to substantial improvement in the demand for vehicles. Booking agents say there has been correction in other routes too. Punjab and Haryana fright costs did not appreciate much but remained on the higher side.

Southern states had been attracting significant premium in the last few weeks. This has changed in the past two weeks. "The demand here seemed to saturating before the Budget hence little opportunity for appreciation," says a Kerala operator.

"We don’t expect much changes prior to the Budget. Also, the likelihood of a war has become marginal," according a Mumbai-Assam transporter. He expressed confidence that rates would soon be improving further as winter will give way to normal weather towards mid-February.

As was seen last week, rates to the western states were stable after substantial corrections. Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh are near-December levels while rest of Maharastra saw not much change.

Rates from Mumbai to West Bengal and Assam were steady unlike in the past week when it moved wildly reflecting the cargo movement. However, this week too, few places gained Rs 500-1,000 while towards remote areas, there has not been much demand.

Truck freight rates from Mumbai to various states (for 9 tonne payload) as on January 25, 2002 (in Rs) for general cargo: