After a 7% drop in July, truck rentals on the trunk routes recovered sharply by 5% in the mid of August. The charges of retail parcel freight rose 5% in the past two weeks. As price of diesel rose Rs 1.30 a litre; soft surveillance of e-way bill digital transit pass system began; cargo offerings from fruits, vehicles, food items, general merchandise on trunk trade routes surged 10%, consumer spending had gone up significantly high and so had consumption in metros, tier-I and -II cities. This has helped truck freight rates recover sharply by 5% in the past two weeks, beginning August.
There was a 7% drop in rentals last month. August normally remains weak due to monsoon adverse effect. Except for Kerala, hilly states of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, the mainland for the past 3-4 weeks is having an uninterrupted movement of goods and services, said Indian Foundation of Transport Research and Training (IFTRT), the apex body which tracks the truck industry. Truck rentals, for instance, had gone up for full truck load (FTL- 25.2 gross vehicle weight capacity) on Delhi-Mumbai-Delhi round trip from Rs 86,500 to Rs 90,900, Delhi-Kolkata-Delhi from Rs 82, 600 to Rs 86,700, Delhi-Raipur-Delhi from Rs 79,000 to Rs 82,100 and Delhi-Kandla-Delhi from Rs 84,000 to Rs 87,200 and on Delhi- Chennai-Delhi from Rs 120,300 to Rs 126,400, IFTRT pointed out.
Interestingly, the 18%-25% upward revision in maximum axle load limit leading to increase in GVW for heavy commercial vehicles had no adverse impact on freight charges as had been feared in certain quarters. Nevertheless, fleet owners had put brake on the new purchases of goods carriages to experience the full enforcement of new axle load rules across the country, the truck body said. During July, despite small increase in diesel price by 51 paise a litre, truck rentals were down 7% on key trunk routes caused by the significant drop of 20-25% with the arrival of vegetables and food items to Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) due to heavy rain and partial road transport strike (chakka jaam).
Factory output though remained stable but could not provide compensatory load to make up for the week arrivals at APMCs across the country. On the contrary, more than half of the goods transport agents took full advantage of hiring trucks at lower rentals and booked part load or retail parcels in several cities to different destinations during the chakka jaam by hiking freight charges by 200-300% from traders/consigners, IFTRT added.