The transport sector has been hit hard again with the second wave of COVID-19, which had already put the industry in deep crisis with the lockdown and drop in economic activity in 2020.
The industry which was providing employment to thousands of people directly and indirectly had already been struggling in Andhra Pradesh with the steep hike in prices of diesel and toll fees. Transport charges reportedly remained at same level in spite of the additional burden of diesel and increased toll.
For instance, a lorry owner charges nearly ₹18,000 to transport goods from Srikakulam to Vijayawada. The owner shardly makes a profit of ₹4, 000 per trip after deduction of all the expenditure, including wages of driver and cleaner. But each owner hardly gets eight to 10 bookings per month and the amount generated would be spent again for payment of EMI, maintenance of vehicles and insurance and others.
Andhra Pradesh Lorry Owners’ Association vice president M.Janakiram Reddy said many drivers and cleaners were scared to take up long trips owing to COVID fear, leading to loss of bookings. “Economic activity has come down significantly with the impact of second wave. Its cascading affecting is more on the transport sector,” he added.
Srikakulam District Granite Lorry Owners’ Welfare Association president Venkata Satyanarayana and general secretary Allu Nagesh said that granite export to China and Europe was disrupted with the impact of the second wave.
“Over six lakh tonnes of granite has been sent to Visakhapatnam and Kakinada ports. But its shipment to other countries has not been done. The granite exporters who could not get amount from importers are unable to clear transport bills. It has become a big shock for all granite lorry owners,” said Mr. Nagesh.
“Diesel which was available at around ₹60 a litre five years ago is now priced at ₹90. It is a big jolt for the entire transport sector,” he added.