The trucking industry has found itself in a familiar situation as last year, with losses pouring down from everywhere. According to the All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC), the truck industry is yet again one of the hardest hit sectors due to the lockdowns in various states across the country. The association says that the lockdown has rendered more than 65% of the total truck fleet in the country stagnant, leading to losses amounting to Rs. 42,000 crore from the beginning of the fiscal till mid of this month.
AIMTC further went on to say that the transport sector “bears the first impact of the lockdowns and the curfews”, calling it the backbone of the country and an essential services provider. As per Bal Malkit Singh, Core Committee Chairman, AIMTC, in the face of such losses, the industry has asked the government for relief measures in the form of EMI moratorium, tax waivers, extension of insurance validity, provision of soft loans without collateral, to name a few.
The association was also quick to raise caution about the danger of the industry facing unemployment on a massive scale if things continue to deteriorate. Singh says, “Almost 80 per cent of the country is under lockdown. As a result of this, about 65 per cent of the total around 95 lakh trucks are standing idle as there is no demand and only 40 lakh trucks are on the roads.”
Taking about the rising losses being borne by the industry from the month of April to now, he further added, “In the first 15 days of April, the industry was facing Rs 400 crore per day, which rose to Rs 800 crore per day by April 30. They have now doubled to Rs 1,600 crore per day till May 15. So, as of May 15, the industry’s cumulative losses were a whopping Rs 42,000 crore.”
He went on to say that the rising diesel prices did not help matters, and have been instrumental in the decline of the industry even further. “Already bewildered and chastised by excessive taxation and forced lockdowns, the breath of the transport sector is being further snatched by rising diesel prices,” said Singh.
He said that the rising diesel prices, besides the impact of the lockdown was adding to the woes of the industry.
“Already bewildered and chastised by excessive taxation and forced lockdowns, the breath of the transport sector is being further snatched by rising diesel prices,” said Singh.
“(But) There is no tangible support coming from the government in terms of any relief and the situation in the transport sector is getting critical with every passing day.
“The way out is the relief package that we have asked for otherwise the industry will collapse, leading to large scale unemployment as well as disruption in the crucial supply chain,” Singh said.