Indian truckers end strike after government deal

India truck field.

Officials told trucker union representatives that the government remains sensitive to truckers’ demands and they will establish an expert committee to examine all core issues. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com.

Indian supply chains are returning to normal, after striking truckers and government authorities brokered a deal during their second round of negotiations late Friday evening in New Delhi.

The All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC), which claims to represent nearly 10 million truckers nationwide, took vehicles off the roads July 20 to pressure the government to address their concerns regarding diesel fuel taxes, insurance premium costs, toll systems, and direct port delivery (DPD) services that they see as a disruptive factor.

During the meeting, officials assured union representatives that the government remains sensitive to truckers’ demands and to that end, they said the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways will establish an expert committee to examine all core issues and provide recommendations in a definite time frame.

“The committee shall have senior level representatives of the Ministry of Shipping, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC), and six representatives from AIMTC,” the joint statement stated. “The committee shall endeavor to submit its recommendations within three months and the government will consider the recommendations of the committee for expeditious implementation.”

Strike's impact

Following that statement, AIMTC ended its eight-day strike, which had particularly hampered freight handling at some key west coast container ports — such as Adani Group-owned Mundra and Hazira, as well as APM Terminals Pipavav, trade sources told JOC.com. Officials at Adani Group were unavailable Monday for an update.

The joint declaration also stated that the national insurance regulatory authority will soon hold talks with transporters to review issues tied to vehicle insurance costs. Further, the government offered to put in place, over the next six months, an innovative, technology-enabled system to mitigate congestion at toll plazas, for which truckers’ suggestions will also be taken into account.

In response to truckers’ grievances on DPD — where the role of supply chain intermediaries has been marginalized, the government said the expert panel will “review any restrictive provisions in the present policy and propose changes to ensure fair and equitable participation.”

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