The growing economy of the Philippines attracts with it a growing demand for trucks to transport goods, equipment and other supplies. Many industries even choose to venture into building their own fleet of trucks and bigger companies expand into a logistics company of their own.
The trucking industry is growing and opportunities are greater but the emergence of new problems and the old issues are also piling up affecting the small players and most especially, the drivers.
1. Truck Ban
This problem affects trucks coming to and from ports of Manila and nearby ports. It is a long withstanding issue where traffic management agencies in the local and regional level point fingers to trucks are the major cause of road congestion in Metro Manila. Even motorists share the same notion because of how the trucks and its drivers are usually depicted as slow-moving and usual cause of road accidents.
As the traffic gets heavier, the truck ban policy got stricter from having a travel window to totally banning in along EDSA. Some cities also adopted a policy of their own. Despite the truck ban, heavy traffic remains and it gets worse as soon as the truck ban window is lifted. Urban planners and policymakers have been reviewing this policy and have been proactively sharing suggestions on how to make the traffic situation in the metro better including the total lifting of the truck ban and disproving trucks’ contribution to heavy traffic.
The economic implication of the truck ban must also be taken into consideration. This can delay deliveries that can affect the economy and the income of the byaheros who earn on a per trip basis, without overtime pay.
2. Heavy traffic
They say heavy traffic is a sign of a booming economy. But it can be a chicken and egg scenario. Traffic can impair the economy. Heavy traffic situation leads to the creation of various traffic policies such as the odd-even scheme, city-wide truck ban and the metro-wide. Even the biggest and richest cities in the Philippines suffer from heavy traffic due to different factors such as:
- Old, two-lane roads
- Unregulated issuance of franchises to tricycles, jeepneys and other public utility vehicles (PUV)
- The lack of urban planning that leads to endless road constructions
- Poor and small drainage systems that need frequent rehabilitation
- Lack of expertise of local officials in facilitating local traffic management
3/4. The oil price hike and fuel taxes
These two go hand in hand. The oil price hike is caused by various factors like the oil prices at the world market, the supply and demand and the prevailing Philippine Peso to US Dollar exchange rate.
Excise taxes on fuel is implemented alongside with the TRAIN Law in 2018. For trucks which are diesel users, a 3-tranche increase will happen in the following succession, Php2.50 per liter in 2018, Php4.50 per liter in 2019 and Php6.00 per liter in 2020.
Both of these affect the trucks and their fuel expenses. But most service providers cannot simply pass on the cost to their clients, they are shouldering a big chunk and most of the time, they are at a loss.
5. Truck phase out
Following the November 14 Truck Holiday, the Lower House Committee on Metro Manila Development recently urged the Department of Transportation to suspend the implementation of the age limits on trucks pegged at a 15-year lifespan. Instead, it was suggested that the Department should focus on the roadworthiness of these vehicles and not their age.
The 6-day truck holiday was a bold step for a group of truckers and brokers who wanted to raise the issues they have been encountering for several years now. This development is proof that they are a big leap closer to resolving one of the many concerns.
These issues and more have been raised to the government in various means, the last one being the 6-day truck holiday. Some of these concerns are decades-old and only addressed with temporary solutions. The push and pull implementation of policies, the never-ending dialogues and the open suggestions from the traffic management experts must all be harmonized and to gain a win-win resolution.
The trucking and logistics industry are the movers of the economy. But with these problems, the men behind the wheel are the most affected. Ernest Logistics Corporation will continuously and openly voice out these concerns and work with government agencies for the betterment of the whole industry and its beneficiaries.