Truck rentals have moved up 3-4% in February on the back of booming cargo availability from fruits, vegetables and food items. Apart from that, improved despatches from the manufacturing sector provided stable cargo flow during February, said a report by the Indian Foundation of Transport Research & Training (IFTRT).Cargo availability from the manufacturing sector has remained stable helping truckers absorb the monthly diesel hike of around 57 paisa per litre.Since January 2013, there have been 14 monthly diesel price revisions on incremental basis. Although it has added to the fuel cost, it has also brought predictability to the fuel price cycle for truck operators.
However, truck rentals in most of the cases are going up one direction or route on full round trip and cargo availability from reverse load destination is remaining flat, said the report.In the overall analysis, truckers are not optimistic about the overall improvement in the freight availability on any long term basis, particularly with signals of cargo availability from the manufacturing sector not becoming clear and consistent in terms of serious improvement, it said.Worse, fleet owners are not too impressed with the 4% excise duty cut provided in the interim budget a fortnight ago. With discounts and subvention on EMI almost three times the excise benefit, the net benefits are negligible.
Without an improvement in sentiment, truckers are not willing to expand their fleet and take on the burden on monthly loan installment of Rs 40,000 to 55,000 on new purchases for a period of four years.Instead, most truckers are happy to retain their existing fleet which by and large is out of encumbrance from bank loan and has helped them to bring down capital cost on fleet owning to greater extent said the report.Not only this, the continuing shortage of trained drivers is another reason they are not expanding their fleet, it said.