Signal of restart: 58 per cent national permit trucks back on roads

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Published: June 9, 2020 2:45 AM

After lockdown was imposed to check Covid-19, plying rate of trucks fell drastically. The rate was 8% on April 12, before improving to 24% on April 24, 30% on May 8 and 58% on Monday.

 Trucking sector will take some more time to return to normalcy as over 40% trucks are still idle due to shortage of drivers, Gupta added.Trucking sector will take some more time to return to normalcy as over 40% trucks are still idle due to shortage of drivers, Gupta added.

As many as 8.7 lakh or 58% of the registered national-permit trucks plied on Indian roads on Monday, up from 4.5 lakh (30%) on May 8, in what indicates a steady improvement in inter-state commerce. This also corroborates other signals of resumption of economic activities like the steady improvement in arrivals of farm produce in mandis, rise in GST e-way bills generated on GSTN portal and the increasing throughputs at ports.

Getting plying rate return to over 10 lakh vehicles or 70% of the national permit-registered that prevailed before the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic, hinges on driver availability and freight volume as economy opened up further, All India Transporters Welfare Association (AITWA) joint secretary Abhishek Gupta told FE.

“A lot of trucks are now being used for shorter routes as drivers are not keen to go out of their comfort zone,” Gupta said referring to the fear factor due to spread of coronavirus. The freight rate has gone up significantly at major ports such as Mumbai’s JNPT, Gujarat’s Mundra Port and Chennai Port, due to demand-supply mismatch. “JNPT has been badly affected due to 50-100% rise in freight rates,” Gupta said.

High freight rates could spike the costs of importers and exporters, who are already incurring more expenditure due to retention charges at ports for keeping goods longer than usual. Trucking sector will take some more time to return to normalcy as over 40% trucks are still idle due to shortage of drivers, Gupta added.

Improvement in truck plying began after the ministry of home affairs asked the states on April 15 to facilitate movement of trucks urgently to clear the logistics logjam to ease supply of daily staples and other essential supplies across the country. Before the lockdown was enforced on March 24, trucks running with load had to be stopped as drivers were not getting food.

After lockdown was imposed to check Covid-19, plying rate of trucks fell drastically. The rate was 8% on April 12, before improving to 24% on April 24, 30% on May 8 and 58% on Monday.

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