Truckers demand extra pay to cover rising fuel costs
The truckers asked their customers to pay an additional fixed cost of 5,000 pesos per trip on top of the base fares to cover increased fuel expenses.
Some operators have already temporarily halted operations as revenues had not been able to cover rising operating costs. Maria Zapata, president of the Confederation of Truckers’ Associations of the Philippines (CTAP), told the Inquirer on Friday that they reached out to their customers – importers, exporters and traders – last week for a company-wide increase. industry as truckers struggled to maintain operations. .
Zapata said the extra charge was necessary because about 20% of an estimated 300,000 trucks across the country are no longer operational due to rising costs.
The proposed surcharge of P5,000 acting as a fuel subsidy, she explained, would be levied on a per trip basis. On average, it costs about 15,000 pesos to transport a 20ft container by truck in Metro Manila. This will go up to P20,000 if the proposed additional charge is approved. On Monday, Zapata said he would meet with his clients to assess demand.
The CTAP official said he asked for a 30% hike in fares when fuel prices started to climb in March. Some may have charged an additional 20%, she said. About 10% of the trucks do not ply the roads, she said, and would only get back on the road if the extra charges were levied.
“[Current charges are] not really enough to cover the cost of operations,” Zapata explained, noting that they are waiting for the award of the additional P5,000 remuneration before resuming. The others, meanwhile, are working but struggling as profit margins have been squeezed, she said.
Zapata said it was a “personal sacrifice” on the part of the operators, as they want to continue to support their drivers. Along with high fuel costs, Zapanta also lamented the “unnecessary” costs truckers have to spend on a delivery, including transfer fees levied by local governments.
She hopes the government will address these concerns to help them reduce their spending.
“Hopefully the government will see the important role truckers play in building the economy. If the trucks stop, the economy stops,” she said.
The situation for truckers is part of a larger transportation crisis caused by soaring fuel prices.
Mody Floranda, National President of Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide, recently told the Inquirer that around 20% of the country’s estimated 900,000 jeepney drivers have quit their jobs due to high fuel costs which are reducing their income.
Jesus “Bong” Suntay, president of the National Association of Taxi Operators of the Philippines, said some taxi drivers had quit their jobs due to the pandemic, but higher fuel costs were keeping more away.
At a recent Senate Energy Committee, Alex Yague, executive director of the Provincial Bus Operators Association of the Philippines, said only 20-30% of provincial buses are currently operating as fuel costs rise.
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