Indian truck strike impact minimal so far
A strike by certain sections of India’s trucking industry doesn’t seem to be doing too much harm so far, the Hindu Business Line reported Tuesday.
Trucker members of the All India Motor Transport Congress, striking since Monday for fuel and tire subsidies from the national government, only represent a fraction of the country’s total trucking force.
The report said the strike hasn’t affected express delivery giant Blue Dart, which operates its own fleet, as well as truckers who haul manufacturing and industrial products. Carmakers, however, are bracing for dispatch problems, while the country’s biggest domestic logistics company, Transport Corp. of India, said some of its business would be affected by the indefinite work stoppage.
The government has reacted angrily to the nature of the work stoppage, with truckers in some states parking their vehicles on highways in protest. The transport ministry has been buoyed by the fact that not all truckers — or even a majority of them — have joined the strike. The Economic Times reported the strike involves 600,000 truckers. AIMTC is an entity designed to represent transporters and goods booking agents. India’s trucking industry is exceedingly fragmented, with most companies one- or two-truck operations.
Fuel prices in India — which are set by the national government — have come down in recent weeks by about 10 percent, with newspaper reports suggesting the government is considering another price reduction in the wake of falling crude oil prices. Officials have reminded the truckers publicly that the government didn’t raise fuel prices substantially when crude prices spiked in the middle of 2008.
Striking truckers are demanding an immediate cut of 10 rupees per liter on diesel prices (about 80 cents per gallon), a 35 percent slashing of tire prices, as well as an exemption from service tax (about 3 percent of the value of goods), a suspension on interstate tolls for six months, and a reduction in truck permit fees.
All the measures are meant to help truckers combat the economic downturn in the short term, AIMTC said.