The transport sector was hit hard again by the second wave of COVID-19, which had already brought the industry into a deep crisis with the blockade and the decline in economic activity in 2020.
The industry, which directly and indirectly employed thousands of people, was already grappling with the steep rise in diesel and toll charges in Andhra Pradesh. According to reports, transportation costs remained the same despite the added burden of diesel and the increased toll.
For example, a truck owner charges almost £ 18,000 to move goods from Srikakulam to Vijayawada. The owner has a profit of £ 4,000 per trip after deducting all expenses including driver and cleaner wages. But each owner barely gets eight to ten bookings a month, and the amount generated would be re-spent on paying for EMI, servicing vehicles and insurance, and more.
Andhra Pradesh Lorry Owners’ Association Vice President M. Janakiram Reddy said that due to fear of COVID, many drivers and cleaners were afraid to take long trips resulting in lost bookings. “Economic activity has decreased significantly with the impact of the second wave. The cascading effects are more likely to affect the transport sector, ”he added.
Venkata Satyanarayana, president of Srikakulam District Granite Truck Owners Association, and General Secretary Allu Nagesh said granite exports to China and Europe were disrupted by the effects of the second wave.
“Over six lakh tons of granite were sent to the ports of Visakhapatnam and Kakinada. However, the shipment to other countries was not carried out. The granite exporters who could not receive any amount from the importers cannot pay the transport bills. It has become a huge shock to all granite truck owners, ”said Nagesh.
“Diesel, which was around £ 60 per liter five years ago, is now £ 90. It’s a big jolt for the entire transport sector, ”he added.