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CIMA Gallary

Truck freight rates up 15%, cement makers hint at mark up

New Delhi, Sept 14 (PTI): The All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) on Friday increased freight charges across the country by 15 per cent following the government’s decision to hike diesel prices.

And cement manufacturers were quick to cite this as a trigger that will force them to mark up their prices.

AIMTC spokesperson GP Singh told PTI that transporters had decided to pass on the burden of increase in diesel price hike to customers.

“The freight charges will be increased with immediate effect by 15 per cent across India,” Singh said.

Asking for a roll back of the diesel price hike, Singh said the government has not heeded the transporters' plea not to increase diesel price and AIMTC was keeping “all our options open” to press for its demand.

As the apex body of truckers across the country, AIMTC claims to have around 80 lakh trucks under its aegis.

On Thursday, the government hiked diesel prices by a steep Rs 5.62 a litre. This was the biggest-ever hike in diesel prices excluding VAT or local sales tax, following which the fuel is sold at Rs 46.95 per litre in the national capital as against Rs 41.32 a litre earlier.

Diesel prices were last increased in June 2011, by Rs 3.37 per litre.

Cement manufacturers indicated that they will have to raise prices as it is not possible for them to absorb the increased freight charges on account of hike in diesel price.

“The increased freight is not going to impact only on the distribution of finished goods. Generally, it takes two tonnes of inputs to produce one tonne of cement. So, the impact will be on a total of three million tonnes freight. I don't think the industry is now in a position to absorb this,” JK Lakshmi Cement whole-time director Shailendra Chouksey told PTI.

Of late, cement prices had come down, mainly because the monsoon slows construction work to a near standstill, by an average of 15 per cent since April.

Cement has been selling at Rs 250-260 for a 50kg bag across the country.