Many drivers have left their trucks stranded on highways and have gone home due to a lack of access to food due to the closure of dhabas along highways. An estimated 3.5 million trucks are stranded on India highways with the cost to the trucking industry estimated around ₹ 1,500-₹ 2,000 crores per day.
Small Fleet Operators Hardest Hit
Small fleet operators (transporters owning less than 5 trucks) own the majority of the trucks in the country and carry the large chunk of volume of goods. They usually subsist hand to mouth, and with no new loads, their very existence is threatened. The primary concern for them is they might be unable to pay their EMIs for their trucks, due to which their trucks might get repossessed, which was addressed by the government when it announced a deferment of EMI payments. But even with that safety net, the loss of business would set back the industry and can have attrition of drivers in a market already faced by driver shortage.
53% of the truck drivers earn between INR 10,000 to INR 20,000 per month. Their living conditions are abysmal with no standardisation in wages, lack of social security and incentives to complete a trip on time.
On an average, each driver drives for about 11.9 hours in a day. In terms of average distance covered, a truck driver covers about 417 km daily. 49% of the respondent drivers said they drive vehicles even if they are feeling fatigued or sleepy
More than 93% of respondents work as employees. Only about 1 in 15 (6%) of the respondents drive self-owned trucks.
India’s last mile delivery market is set to touch a market size of $6-7 billion by 2024, moving in a similar direction to markets like China and the US where the penetration has reached more than 10 per cent, a new report said on Monday.
Container trucks would be almost 50% of the total trucking market today.