When eight bells toll

Commercial Vehicle - - SPECIAL REPORT - Bhushan Mhapralkar

A good eight days worth of busi­ness was lost as an es­ti­mated 93 lakh trans­porters grounded their trucks in protest. It will take an amount of time and money un­til the trans­porters get down to do­ing busi­ness and com­pen­sate for the days and busi­ness lost by their clients. Trucks rentals con­tinue to be on the higher side. To ful­fil their com­mit­ments to­wards the clients, higher rentals mean fleet op­er­a­tors (and truck­ers) are pay­ing from their pock­ets. I re­mem­ber ask­ing an in­dus­try leader about freight rates not ris­ing in pro­por­tion to the rise in fuel prices, which ac­count for the big­gest chunk of the op­er­at­ing costs a trucker en­coun­ters, and his an­swer was sim­ple – that they will rise. Since then the fuel prices have con­tin­ued to be al­most at the same level. There are other costs that have been ris­ing. Freight rates are how­ever yet to rise as much. Talks with the in­sur­ance author­ity may have be­gun, the re­sults of the process that may fol­low are not clear yet, or if there will be any re­sults at all is not clear yet. The cas­cad­ing ef­fect of the strike has led to a steep hike in mar­ket hir­ing costs. The strike, which many trans­porters have come to re­fer to as a ‘chaka-jaam’, does not seem to have clearly yielded a pos­i­tive out­come on the count of har­ras­ment by the re­gional au­thor­i­ties who strike un­der the guise of ‘fly­ing squads’ or are still found at the state bor­ders. The time spent deal­ing with them and at the toll booths is sig­nif­i­cant. It is threat­en­ing to neu­tralise the ef­fi­ciency ben­e­fits as­sured by GST and the e-way bill.

A pic­ture is emerg­ing from within the trans­port in­dus­try where the big fish are ren­der­ing the small fish vul­ner­a­ble. There is a sec­tion in the in­dus­try that feels that time should be given to the gov­ern­ment to re­solve the is­sues they face. There is the other part that ques­tions why it has taken so long for the gov­ern­ment to re­spond? The fact is, it is not as sim­ple as it may look. New reg­u­la­tions like axle norms and ex­ten­sion of fit­ness cer­tifi­cate to two years are good to talk about Their im­ple­men­ta­tion is how­ever go­ing to be a daunt­ing task. There are many stake­hold­ers in­volved. A big ques­tion is whether the im­ple­men­ta­tion of axle norms should be left with the re­gional au­thor­i­ties to de­ter­mine or a finely en­gi­neered cer­ti­fi­ca­tion and val­i­da­tion process should be put in place? This would serve ex­ist­ing as well as new CVs; their buy­ers as well as their man­u­fac­tur­ers. It needs to be un­der­stood that an­nounc­ing a date of im­ple­men­ta­tion is eas­ier than putting in place a frame­work that will fuel clar­ity of pur­pose and make it easy to achieve the re­sults.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.