Road transport sector of Gujarat facing loss of Rs 150 crore per day

(C) Provided by The Financial Express Directly and indirectly, more than 15 lakh people are getting employment from the road-transport industry of Gujarat. (Representative image)

The second wave of Covid-19 has come down heavily on the road-transport sector of Gujarat as the truck-transport industry in the state is incurring at least Rs 150 crore business losses per day amid surging cases, night curfew in all major towns and mini-lockdown imposed by the state government. The business volume of the transport sector in Gujarat is witnessing a 50% dip due to the closure of the majority of Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMCs), textile markets and a curfew from 8 pm to 6 am across the state, says Mukesh Dave, president of Akhil Gujarat Truck Transport Association (AGTTA). “Transporters are facing difficulties to deliver goods on time.

Many people working in the transport sector including drivers have become Covid-19 positive. Due to curfew, those who are still working have to leave the office by 6.30 pm to reach safely at their homes before the beginning of curfew at 8 pm. Trade and industries are also operating under so many restrictions and hence their transport requirements have also reduced by more than 50%,” says Dave who is also co-chairman, a logistic committee of Gujarat Chamber of Commerce & Industry (GCCI).

In Gujarat nearly 10 lakh commercial vehicles including nearly 3.5 lakh trucks and the rest of other vehicles including tankers, tempo (3-wheeler used for transporting goods in smaller quantities), trailers and others. Nearly 20,000 offices of transporters are functioning across the state, of these nearly 2,000 are situated alone in Ahmedabad only. Directly and indirectly, more than 15 lakh people are getting employment from the road-transport industry of Gujarat.

Of the total vehicles, 50% vehicles (mostly small commercial vehicles) are being operated by owners only, he said adding, “The economic condition of these self-employed people have gone into the doldrums. On one hand, their income has dried up and on the other hand, they are under huge liability to pay instalments for their vehicle loans. If the situation wouldn’t improve in a span of a month, many of them would become bankrupt.”

“The transport industry in the state has also been hit adversely by the lockdown imposed by other states across the country,” said Hasubhai Bhagdev, secretary, AGTTA.

Due to recession, transporters are not able to increase tariff, but they have to bear the burden of increasing cost of diesel and toll taxes coupled with surging insurance cost as well as salaries to staff, he added.