Truck rentals on main trunk routes have declined by 5% in November on the back of a 20% drop in cargo offerings from the manufacturing sector and a 15% drop in export-import trade. Last month, truck rentals had gained 3% on account of increased arrivals owing to the festive season. With IIP nosediving by 5% in the last 10 weeks, oversupply of fleets after festive season and lower kharif harvest due to prolonged rains in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telengana and Madhya Pradesh, trunk rentals not only saw a 5% drop in November but vehicles also have to wait for 6 days to get reloads in key industrial areas in many states, said Indian Foundation of Transport Research and Training (IFTRT).
In case of Delhi-Mumbai-Delhi, the rentals dropped by 5%, Delhi-Kolkata-Delhi by 5%, Delhi-Chennai-Delhi by 5%, Delhi-Ranchi-Delhi by 6% and Delhi-Hyderabad-Delhi by 6%. If one has to take into consideration the national average of truck rentals drop from November 2018 to November 2019, truck rentals on 75 major trunk routes have dropped by 18%, despite short upswing during peak festive season — 6 weeks of September and October 2019. The only succour for operators has been that diesel prices have dropped by around Rs 3 a litre since the beginning of September to end of October 2019, the apex body of truck industry pointed out.
Meanwhile, IFTRT in a memo to the Union government, said the proposed vehicle scrappage policy at this point of time is unwarranted as it would adversely impact the transport freight market and result in mass unemployment of small/self-employed truck owners in districts, who are providing low-cost transportation with their 12 to 15-year-old goods carriers and are operating mostly short-haul services.
A mandatory truck scrappage policy can be easily avoided by having digital inspection and maintenance regime and more upgraded pollution control devices to check the tailpipe emission from commercial vehicles to ensure that no fudging is done by vehicle fitness and PUC testing agencies, it said. Hence, the area of annual fitness system should be expanded to automobile manufacturers and their dealers rather than limiting the task of inspection and maintenance to RTOs alone who are not equipped to carry out a foolproof check of commercial vehicles, IFTRT said.