Address issues in finance, insurance and shortage of drivers: Transporters

G Naga Sridhar Visakhapatnam | Updated on February 24, 2020 Published on February 24, 2020

(From left) Gude Srinuvasu, President, The Visakha District Lorry Suppliers Association; B Satyanarayana, President, Visakha Goods Transport Association; Sharat Kumar, General Manager (Retail Sales), TAPSO, Indian Oil Corporation Ltd; M Janakiram Reddy, President, Greater Visakha Trailer Suppliers Association; and G Naga Sridhar, Deputy Editor, BusinessLine, participating in a panel discussion on ‘The Road Ahead’ at the Transporters Meet in Visakhapatnam on Friday   -  CV Subrahmanyam

Unhealthy competition, high insurance costs and unethical practices of some finance companies are a concern, say transporters

Lack of specified parking lots, issues in finance, surge in mandatory motor third party insurance prices and shortage of drivers are top concerns for road transporters.

This is the view of industry experts who participated in a panel discussion on ‘The Road Ahead’, as part of the the second edition of Transporters’ Meet, organised by BusinessLine in association with Indian Oil Corporation Ltd and Mahindra Small Commercial Vehicles, here on Friday.

M Janakiram Reddy, President, Greater Visakha Trailer Suppliers Association, alleged that “ Finance companies are terrorising the owners with the help of anti-social elements and are illegally seizing vehicles. I request that the regional transport authorities take our joint action committee into confidence and provide a solution to the problem of wrong practices.”

Some insurance companies were charging more than 20 per cent higher premium and proper checks and balances should be put in place, he urged.

B Satyanarayana, President, Visakha Goods Transporters Association, said vehicle owners were unable to come out of the ‘debt trap’ due to easy availability of finance till recently.

The transport sector was undergoing a transformation with many players entering the sector and increasing competition. “The finance companies should not extend easy finance for lorries. That is actually leading to losses for all,” he said. The motor third party insurance norms are not being understood by transporters and there is lot of mis-selling, he added.

Availability of drivers is only up to about 70 per cent. The driving profession should be made more respected and made safe to attract fresh talent, he felt.

Awareness concerns

“There is a greater need to create awareness on BS VI vehicles and keep a tab on emerging technologies like electric vehicles,” Gude Srinuvasu, President, The Visakha District Lorry Suppliers Association. As a port city, Visakhapatnam is a key region for transport sector and we need an exclusive transport city, he added.

Sharat Kumar, General Manager (Retail Sales) - TAPSO - Indian Oil Corporation Ltd said that his company has taken a slew of initiatives including setting up of large format outlets with many facilities for drivers such as secured parking, rest areas, charging points. “In some of these, we also have dhaba facilities where they can also have food,” he said.

“While many countries, including some advanced nations, are taking five-six years to switch over to BS-VI (equivalent) fuel, Indian Oil Corporation had only taken about three years. We are harnessing technology for the benefit of all stakeholders,’’ Kumar added.

The first edition of the highly-successful Transporters Meet last year was held in ten cities with over 2,000 participants. The second edition commenced in Navi Mumbai on January 10 with nearly 200 fleet-owners in attendance. The second event was held in Bengaluru on January 30 followed by Guwahati on February 14.

Nearly one crore trucks criss-cross the country carrying goods daily. Their operation is critical for keeping India’s economic engine running. Transporters, in the past, have braved issues such as fluctuating fuel prices and lower freight rates, and these were also discussed at Visakhapatnam.

This one-of-its-kind event brings together various stakeholders involved in the transport sector to discuss issues, share best practices and suggest solutions to the problems faced by them.

Published on February 24, 2020
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