Though there was no hike in diesel prices during February, truck rentals on trunk routes across the country shot up by 5%, as against a 6% drop in January, thanks to improved cargo offerings from the manufacturing sector as well increased arrivals of fruits and vegetables at APMCs (agriculture products marketing committees).
Re-engagement of truck fleets in infrastructure projects, along with brisk arrivals at APMCs of fruit and vegetables, helped rentals to recover 5% on trunk routes. The double-digit growth in sales in the heavy truck segment has been supported by strong replacement demand, regulatory fears and sudden increase in hiring by the factory and infrastructure sectors, said Indian Foundation of Transport Research and Training (IFTRT), the apex body tracking the truck industry for over 15 years. The recovery in truck rentals after a long spell of three quarters has been led by improved cargo availability from the manufacturing sector. There has also been increased fleet utilisation and augmentation of truck fleets in the infrastructure sector, along with a 25% increase in arrivals of fruits and vegetables to APMCs across the country. These have maintained the momentum of the last two months.
The fall in average monthly truck rentals of 5.3%-6.9% on trunk routes in April-September 2015, in comparison with the same period the previous fiscal, was mainly due to a decline in diesel price during this period. Despite finance ministry being busy in mopping up the benefit of a steep drop in international crude oil price below $30 per bbl by jacking up excise duty by R2 per litre, oil marketing companies (OMCs) had cut diesel price by R1.91 per litre in two tranches on January 1 and January 15 this year. Now, the international crude price has again gone up to $35 per bbl and OMCs have hiked the diesel price R1.47 per litre to adjust against the falling rupee against the dollar, IFTRT said.