Freight demand has picked up but the recovery appears to have come too late in the day for many small transporters, who have already surrendered their vehicles to lenders, unable to pay the monthly loan instalments on them.
This has led to a demand-supply mismatch, where demand for freight movement is far ahead of trucks available to move them.
The truck shortfall is highest along busy sectors like Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore. The sectors with highest demand are FMCG, food, agri, and construction material movement. Since October, freight rates have moved up 15-20 percent along these major routes.
Small fleet operators who are yet to recover from COVID-19 impact are seeing trucks being repossessed by banks/NBFCs. Shortage of drivers and handlers along certain routes is also adding to the woes.