Gujarat truckers raise freight charges by 20 percent

March 12th, 2009 - 7:49 pm ICT by IANS  

Ahmedabad, March 12 (IANS) Gujarat truck operators have hiked freight rates by up to 20 percent for trucks leaving for Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Maharashtra “with immediate effect”, a truckers’ representative here said Thursday.
Akhil Gujarat Truck Transporters Association (AGTTA) vice-president Mukesh Dave told IANS that the truckers were forced to raise charges as they did not get sufficient load while returning from these states after unloading goods.

Now, freight charges from Ahmedabad to Delhi will go up by Rs.500, or 20 percent, per tonne, while that from Ahmedabad to Mumbai will rise by Rs.300, or 15 percent, per tonne.

The charges to Punjab and Haryana will also increase 20 percent.

Dave admitted that traders, industrial units and farmers were “expecting the freight rates to actually go down after the central government recently announced a cut in the diesel prices by Rs.2″.

“However, with lesser industrial and even agricultural output, truckers in Gujarat sending their vehicles to northern cities do not get sufficient load even after waiting three days from those cities,” he said.

Earlier, normal waiting period to find sufficient load before returning was just a day, Dave added.

According to him, around 1,500 trucks are leaving from Ahmedabad for Delhi everyday carrying goods. Half of them do not find sufficient load - or sometime no load at all - on return trips after the slowdown started to bite the economy.

“Normally a transporter would depend on season-wise agricultural output to make his trips viable during hard times. However, in most parts of the country, these days, even the agricultural output is falling,” Dave said.

The truck operators in the state are also grappling with other issues like high toll tax rates at many checkposts, he added.

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