Despite comprehensive instructions issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs to allow movement of goods classified as essential items, consumer goods manufacturers have complained that severe shortage of trucks and manpower continues to remain a challenge in scaling up operations.
The government has already clarifying what constitutes essential items, despite that there is confusion at various levels.
"Many difficulties are being faced in transportation, with a significant shortage of trucks", Vivek Gambhir, Managing Director, Godrej Consumer Products told CNBC-TV18.
Godrej Consumer Products Limited (GCPL) is a leading manufacturer of hygiene goods such as soaps and toiletries.
"Some CFAs (carry and forwarding agents) & factories have received permissions to operate, but numbers of workers reporting to factory/distributor locations is still very low due to social pressure and safety concerns,” Gambhir added.
Supermarkets such as DMart and Big Bazaar are scouting for vehicles and drivers to fulfil orders for home delivery of essential goods, but the supply in the market has been cut by more than half, a Mumbai-based transporter of essential supplies and perishable goods told CNBC-TV18, adding, "We don't have drivers for our vehicles. If they're demanding 100 trucks, we are hardly able to provide 50."
Transport Associations have claimed that drivers are reluctant to make trips given the hostile environment they’re operating in.
"No driver is ready to move and transporters are sitting idle. Authorities are taking their own time, even after central government has issued directives on movement of vehicles, drivers are being stopped at all state borders, said Mahendra Arya, President of All India Transporters' Welfare Association.
GCPL said that while the government's directives will help ease some of the existing supply chain bottlenecks, companies will need to work closely with authorities to ensure adequate availability of workers and trucks to put the supply chain back on track.
"Alongside, district authorities will need to ensure that required permissions are given quickly, ideally online,” Gambhir suggested.
According to commercial fleet management platform, the movement of commercial vehicles in the country has dropped by 88-90 percent since March 22, and has remained at that level despite government intervention.
Moreover, logistics companies have to make payments towards demurrages, detention charges and port penalties because of export and import shipments being stuck at ports. The industry has requested a waiver or relaxation in these penalties amid the lockdown.Since movement of goods is constricted at inter-state level and from distributors to retail outlets, the logjam is likely to exacerbate shortage of essential items that customers are already facing.