AHMEDABAD: It’s akin to the last year’s lockdown for transporters. Movement restrictions and curbs have been imposed to tackle the massive surge in cases of Covid-19 and Gujarat transporters are feeling the heat. Estimates of Akhil Gujarat Truck Transporters’ Association (AGTTA) suggest that at least 40% of the transport vehicles have now gone off the roads.
“The lockdown measures in various states have sparked a fear among drivers who often refuse to report for work,” said Mukesh Dave, president, AGTTA. “Some drivers or their family members have been affected by Covid. Many have left for their home towns fearing getting stranded.”
Transporters said that even demand has taken a hit as industrial production has been impacted by Covid.
“The demand for raw materials as well as for finished products has dropped as there are different levels of restrictions across different states,” Dave said. As territorial lockdowns and curbs on movement are extended, transporters have warned that supplies of essential commodities, including medicines, may take a hit.
“We anticipate that if the availability of vehicles reduces, it may adversely hit the supply of medicines, essentials, and raw materials,” he said. “The fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) segment has already begun feeling the pinch.”
Restrictions and the reduction in demand have come as a double whammy for transporters, especially because fuel prices have remained on the higher side and unchanged over a month.
The petrol price stands at Rs 87.57 per litre and the diesel price is at Rs 86.96 per litre. “Our contracts with suppliers are pre-negotiated. Currently we’re short of staff and the demand has gone down, which directly impacts our revenues,” said an Ahmedabad-based transporter. “However, our cost of operations remains unchanged and such a high price of diesel certainly hits the effective income.”