The All India Transporters’ Welfare Association (AITWA) while thanking Union Minister Nitin Gadkari for his initiative and directives to resume transport services amid COVID-19, has also requested the immediate attention of the ministry to the issues which are blocking the smooth resumption of transport of goods across the country.

AITWA in response to the circular issued by MHA on April 15, 2020, explains to the ministry the gap existing between the intent with regards to directives for the logistics industry and its implementation at ground level.

“In spite of the directive by Union Government, warehouses were not being allowed to operate, ground staff were not allowed to move to their place of work, truck drivers were stuck at their villages for want of any public transport availability. The worst part was that there was no SOP in place for the industry for getting permissions. What’s more, every state has been dealing with the situation differently.”

 ~ Mr Pradeep Singal, Chairman, AITWA

Adding further, Abhishek Gupta – Joint Secretary, AITWA said, “NHAI had stopped Toll Collection till April 20, 2020; but now it restarted the same even though the truck mobilization is very limited. This needs to be reconsidered by the Government.”

While stating about the content of the recent letter submitted to Nitin Gadkari, Mahendra Arya, President, AITWA said “The letter to Mr. Gadkari primarily mentioned about the huge amount of hardship and harassment to transporters at ground level without any productive outcome; as we as transporters’ body fear the supply chain could never come to life in the present state of affairs. The worst part was that our association has been getting hundreds of phone calls from its members asking for help and direction on the issue of difficulty in operation due to unclear directions to ground level authorities. In this regards, it was mentioned in the letter that if the situation of confusion and chaos continues like this, the transporters may not be able to operate in spite of their desire to be operative.”

AITWA during the lockdown has undertaken various welfare and relief work such as organizing food on a daily basis for stranded truck drivers all over India; sanitization of truck cabins at locations where critical shipments of the supply chain were started viz. Mumbai Air Cargo terminal, JNPT Nhava Sheva, Delhi Air Cargo Terminal and many more new locations. Nearly 2800 trucks have been sanitized till 24th April 2020. AITWA is also providing online education about dos and don’ts through smartphones to all drivers and equipping them with masks, hand gloves and hand sanitizers.

Further the association has worked as per the directive of Special Logistics Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, to clear off air cargo terminals, JNPT port and various CFS by organizing vehicles against all odds.

It has also taken initiatives like creating a free platform of Freight Exchange, creating an e-pass solution and offering the same for free to the Government of India and state governments, organizing inspirational webinars with world-class speakers and issuing useful advisory to the industry and its customers from time to time.

The association has given various suggestions to the ministers like defining roles of authorities at ground level, allow drivers to travel interstate to reach vehicles, encourage transporters who are trying to keep the supply chain running for essential goods, Insurance cover to this industry workers, advising all users of logistics services to rely on e-documents and avoid papers’ handling at all levels of the supply chain etc.