As the nation-wide lockdown extends till May 31, Ministry of Home Affairs has released fresh guidelines and given a series of relaxations across the country in the last few days. However, the transporters aren’t very happy with the 7pm – 7am curfew timings.

As per the fresh guidelines for lockdown 4.0, movement of people outside their homes is restricted between 7 in the evening till 7 in the morning which has become a bone of contention among the transporters as trucks are not allowed to enter the city limits during the day.

“I believe, we truckers should be allowed to operate on a 24-hour basis, as there are several needs of customers that are not fulfilled within the 7am-7pm window.”

~Rahul Dagar, Founder and CEO, Truckking Logistics

He adds, “In order to be parallel with all the essential and non-essential goods deliveries, we now need to work 24×7 basis. Industry sources say that trucks idling levels currently are close to 70%, despite high demand.”

The MHA also said that the onus is now on the states to decide if they want to prohibit certain activities in certain areas. States have also been given the authority to delineate containment, buffer, red, orange, and green zones.

The restrictions to be applied in the respective zones will be more or less decided by states. This implies that apart from the night curfew, the transporters will also have to abide by the different time restrictions applied by the states.

“The transport industry is already working in low capacity. There are hardly 150 drivers available for every 1000 trucks. We are struggling with availability of loaders and unloaders as migrant workers have gone to their respective villages. This has increased the loading-unloading time by 3 times. Further, because of the 7pm – 7am curfew, the double shift work has also come to a halt. A lot of challenges are already there. With these new rules, the working capacity of trucks which is 50% at present will further decrease.”

~Chirag Katira, Director, Shree Nasik Goods Transport Co Pvt Ltd

He further adds, “The new timing will encourage corruption because of ground-level confusions. And, the truckers will face issues as all the eateries and dhabas on highways will shut amid 7 pm as per the new guidelines. The government should come with amends and give the transporters relief.”

Under Lockdown 4.0, the government has also allowed inter-state movement of passenger vehicles and buses. These road movements will, however, be allowed only with the mutual consent of the states or Union Territories involved and will be monitored by standard operation procedure (SOP) that was announced earlier.

The government had already made the necessary preparations to deal with COVID-19 in the lockdown period. And, now is gradually moving towards opening up the economy.